October 22, 2008 Edition

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Several attend Hoxie meeting;
sanitation, cleanup discussed

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Hoxie City Council members and residents discussed sanitation and the city's cleanup ordinance at its Oct. 14 meeting. The meeting was attended by approximately 35 residents.

Danny Kopp III told aldermen that Hoxie could save over $14,000 by the city hauling the trash rather than Downum Waste Services, Inc.

"I don't think any one has robbed or squandered the city money. I think it has just gone to different places. I think we ought to have our garbage pick up back to twice a week," Kopp said.

"I advise the council to pay careful attention to what it does. When services begin to be cut, residents start to become angry."

In the interest of researching the best possible solution, a sanitation committee meeting was scheduled for this past Tuesday at 6:30. Interested residents, including Kopp, and a representative from Downum Waste Services, Inc., were invited to participate.

Several residents expressed interest in the work of the new code enforcement officer, Pat Sluder, who previously was a radio dispatcher for the Hoxie Police Department. Sluder assumed the responsibility four weeks ago and has been notifying Hoxie citizens who are in violation of the clean-up ordinance. According to the ordinance, residents in violation are given a warning first, followed in 10 days by a citation that carries a one-time fine of $150 plus $25 per day until the area is adequately cleaned up.

Resident Sonny Anglin explained that his salvage yard had been grandfathered in by a judge in the late 1980s. He also said that his salvage yard has been in existence for 32 years and that it was going to take more than 10 days to clean and organize. Anglin was informed by the city attorney that no one is exempt from the cleanup ordinance and concerns regarding the time limits needed to be brought before a judge.

Hoxie business owner Rick Spargo discussed the problem of individuals dumping on another's property. He said the financial responsibility of cleanup unjustly falls on the land owner. Spargo stated that some of the items on Anglin's property accumulated because of dumping.

Spargo also raised his concern of contamination of the ponds near or on Anglin's property. Mayor Donnie Roberts reported that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) researched the possibility of contamination. He said that Kenneth Burke of ADEQ reported that an acid contamination could result from wood chips that had been dumped near or in the ponds.

Resident Dennis Coggins said, "The city needs to clean up its own act before it starts handing out tickets. What is the city's cleanup plan?"

Delbert Robins, Hoxie business owner, said, "If people will help each other, I think that will go a long way in helping Hoxie look good."

Resident Carroll Goodin offered to help in cleanup efforts, as well as find recruits, if the city showed results in improving their efforts.

Roberts admitted that the alleyways are not adequately maintained by the city yet. He said efforts are in motion to improve the areas maintained by the city, but that everything could not be done at once.

Jeff Brady informed the council that he wants to build a 30-foot shop on his property, but was told by Sluder that it violated the set-back restriction in the building and zoning ordinance. The ordinance demands 25 feet from the center of a road or alley before a building can be constructed.

Brady was instructed to check to see if the alley was dedicated to public use since the alley was not found on any platte. Brady was told he was free to build his shop as planned if the alley is not public.

"I suggest a change from the 25-foot restriction," Brady said. "Hoxie lots are not large enough to accommodate this restriction."

Roberts asked Stanley Schmidt, chairman of the planning and zoning committee, to investigate and recommend yard restrictions that would be reasonable for the city of Hoxie.

Dr. Robert Gardner, local dentist, presented a Water Fluoridation Quality Award to the Hoxie Water Department from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The award commended the city for adjustment of the water fluoride content at the optimal level for 12 consistent months.

In other business:

  • A motion was approved to have city offices closed the day after Christmas this year. City employees have the option to take the day off without pay or use a vacation day. Employees are to inform Katie Smith, city clerk, of their choice by Dec. 1.

  • Roberts requested all city council members attend a special budget committee meeting to work with department officials on the 2009 budget. It is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

  • Two ordinances were passed that re-zoned the two properties in the "Y," located at the intersection of Highway 67B and Highway 63B, from residential to commercial.

  • It was reported that $10,150 was raised at the city's auction of equipment held last month. The sale consisted of equipment that the city had not used for at least three years.

  • Kopp requested assistance in improving access to the Rails to Trails biking and walking trail located near his yard. Roberts reported that Junior Waldrupe, street superintendent, had already been alerted to that need.

  • Discussion regarding the new vicious dog ordinance was tabled until the November council meeting.

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