March 19, 2008 Edition

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Hoxie's fire rating lowered

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Hoxie City Council announced the achievement of a lower fire insurance rating for the city at its regular meeting on March 11. Hoxie's Fire Suppression Rating has dropped from a seven to a six through an automatic agreement to work with the Walnut Ridge Fire Department. It is predicted to drop to a five rating within the year.

Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts said "Walnut Ridge and Hoxie fire departments work very well together as good neighbors." The automatic agreement means that if there is a fire in Hoxie, Walnut Ridge will respond to help automatically, and visa versa.

This will mean better insurance rates for Hoxie property owners. The rating is determined by meeting several standards that improve response time as judged by an independent company called ISO headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Also during Tuesday's meeting the previous trial agreement held between Hoxie and Downums Waste Services, Inc. for Downums to transport solid waste to the regional landfill was approved as a contract until the end of 2008. The agreement can be terminated with a 30-day notice.

Also discussed was the topic of establishing fair rates for businesses that have dumpsters. If a business has a dumpster provided by Downums, the city will not charge for that dumpster; otherwise businesses should expect a letter outlining the new rates. Dumpster rates for the Hoxie School are being studied, as well. One dumpster truck will be designated just for school use to determine exact cost.

Steve Ditto reported on the ongoing cleanup for Hoxie. He stated that the first cleanup notification will include a time limit; the second will be a notice of condemnation. There are approximately 10 to 15 properties that don't meet inspection requirements.

It is requested that residents wait until closer to the cleanup, which will begin April 14, to place furniture and large items near the road for pick up.

Philip Clark has donated signs that the city will use to remind Hoxie residents to keep their properties clean.

After Sergeant Bubba Blackwood provided information to the council, the purchase of new bulletproof vests for the Hoxie Police Department was approved. A committee will meet to discuss the situation and arrange funding.

Hoxie resident Dale Johnson presented an agreement by all eight landowners who have property adjoining Paula and Renee streets stating a desire to dedicate Paula Street to the city. Johnson was advised to have the agreement made into a formal dedication and to have it notarized. The next step would be for the council to decide if the city wants to accept the street in its present condition.

It was determined that personal cell phones (and accessories) that receive a reimbursement by the city will not be replaced if damaged during use on the job. Phone reimbursement will be $20 per month and must be deemed necessary by city council on an individual basis.

The land swap approved by Lawrence County Quorum Court was acknowledged by the council. Mayor Roberts expressed interest in building on the land "in the Y," not just using it for a parking lot.

The Quorom Court had voted at its March meeting to trade the property located between the two lanes of Highway 63B at the intersection with Highway 67B to Hoxie for tow lots in the Boas Raney Addition.

It was approved that anyone violating the Hazardous Driving ordinance will now be fined no less than $75 (a change from $25) to a maximum of $250. Violators will also pay a court cost of $75.

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