July 16, 2008 Edition

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Concerns discussed
at Hoxie meeting

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

More than 30 residents attended the Hoxie City Council Meeting last Tuesday, and concerns were expressed over several topics.

"I recognize that there were a lot of concerns addressed at the council meeting," Mayor Donnie Roberts said. "We could not address them all at that meeting, but I will make every effort to resolve any concerns that anyone has."

Carroll Goodin discussed concerns regarding the re-use loan for up to $740,000 for the upcoming Save-A-Lot grocery store approved at the recent special Hoxie Council meeting.

"The way this matter was handled didn't look good," he said. "A special meeting was called to transfer land, then suddenly this money was appropriated. What is the business plan, projected sales and background of these investors? If Hoxie can get a good deal on this, I'm behind you 100 percent."

Dewey Scott, chairperson of the Hoxie re-use fund committee, explained that there were many variables that determined the recommendations made by the re-use committee. Scott said the investors offered adequate collateral and at least $130,000 equity in additional properties. In addition the grocery store would provide 15 local jobs, as well as save between 20 to 40 percent for residents who shop at Save-A-Lot.

Danny Simpson raised questions about the zero percent interest for 10 years offered on the Save-A-Lot re-use loan.

"I pay five percent interest on my re-use loan. Why do they get their loan at zero percent for 10 years?" asked Simpson.

"This grocery business will draw more business to Hoxie," Delbert Robins, Hoxie resident and business owner, said. "The zero percent interest is offered by Hoxie as an incentive to help attract Save-A-Lot to improve our city."

Roberts said, "Save-A-Lot has already drawn interest from two other businesses; one from outside the county in the last month."

Simpson was invited by the mayor and council to resubmit his loan to the re-use committee for a review and possible adjustment.

Wayne Black, Save-A-Lot investor, answered residents' questions regarding the investments and projections of the business venture. (See related article.)

A resolution narrowly passed that allowed the mayor to approve the paperwork relating to the land sale and Save-A-Lot grocery store loan. Council members Adam Pratt, Sherry Moore and Jim Kirksey approved, Kenneth Quarry and Marty Harris voted against and Kenny Franks abstained. Roberts also voted yes to carry the approving majority.

Harold Hays, who previously worked for the Hoxie garbage department for six years, expressed concern that there was too much work for one individual to handle when collecting garbage.

"We need two on the back of the garbage truck at all times," Hoxie resident Ed Romine said. "Why not put two on the truck, but cut down to one day a week on pickup if we need to save money?"

"Hoxie would do better if they would support recycling," said resident John Holt.

Hoxie resident Stanley Schmidt agreed saying, "We need to learn to live within what the city can afford."

After the council discussed the garbage matters and rising fuel cost concerns, it was determined that Hoxie would run the garbage truck with two employees on the back of the truck, but reduce their garbage pickup to one day a week starting the first week in August.

Garbage pickup will be on either Monday or Tuesday for residents. Kirksey, Harris, Franks and Pratt voted for. Both Moore and Quarry voted against the decision.

Darrell Price presented information and photographs that supported a concern about the lack of fulfilling an ordinance that promoted the removal of unsightly trailers and the cleanup of Hoxie.

"What can we do to make sure our laws are being enforced?" Price asked. Council member Moore said, "Removal of trailers is done on a case-by-case situation."

It was mentioned that the code enforcement officer had resigned May 31. Hoxie Chief of Police Glen Smith was now filling in until another code enforcement officer is hired.

When asked if he would enforce trailer issues, Smith said that he will and does. He said he is systematically completing one section of Hoxie at a time. Smith recommended that the council reduce the time allowed between violation citations from 20 days to as little as five or seven days.

"I'd like the council to address this issue," Price said. "For the past year, little has been done. These ordinances need to be enforced."

Roberts said the city would again advertise for a qualified code enforcement officer and update Ryan Cooper, the city's prosecuting attorney, on the matter to help in the timely clean up of Hoxie.

In other business:

  • Council Member Harris advised those with tree limbs touching electric power lines should call Entergy to take care of the matter.

  • Council Member Moore informed the council that the paving for the Hoxie portion of Rails to Trails has been completed.

  • Resident John Holt advised the council that several dogs were running loose, especially on the weekends. Holt recommended that owners be responsible for having each dog tagged for identification and verification of rabies shot.

  • Ron Thomas, former Arkansas Disability Act coordinator, informed the city council that two buildings were opened within the last months that are not up to code in relation to the Disability Act. Thomas urged that this matter be handled promptly.

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