February 17, 2010 Edition

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Roberts gives State of
City address at meeting

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Mayor Donnie Roberts reviewed 2009 in his State of the City address to the Hoxie City Council on Feb. 9.

He discussed the impact of the ice storm on the city, including cleanup procedures and the use of generators to help the city cope with the electrical outage. A FEMA check totaling $138,218.85 reimbursed the city to help with cleanup costs.

"Other than the ice storm, Hoxie is in great shape," said Roberts. "Sales tax was up 22 percent from 2008 to 2009. That equals about $5,000 per month."

Roberts contributed the increase in sales tax to the efforts of the long-standing Hoxie businesses, as well as the opening of two new businesses, Save-A-Lot and Cox Kawasaki.

In addition, Hoxie received a total of $352,789 last year in grant money that did not have to be matched. The grants dealt with projects involving the fire department and police department, as well as the water and wastewater grant for development on approximately 250 acres on Highway 63, among others. Hoxie also received a donation of land from the Sloan family that the city is planning to use as a park.

"Grants have played a large part in our projects for the improvement of our city," Roberts said. "Also, all the departments are in good shape for their 2009 budget. I look forward to this new year and the great things that are coming to Hoxie."

Dewey Scott spoke to the council in an effort to educate council members on what the city needs to do to lower the fire rating from a class 6.

"The city last lowered the rating from a class 7 to a class 6, which lowers the insurance rate an average of $98 per household," Scott said. "The city really accomplished something to the advantage of the residents."

The fire rating is based on three areas: volunteer firefighter involvement and training, 911 answering and water pressure. To lower the rating even further, the city can have more volunteer firefighters at each fire and increase firefighter training, but the lowest area in the last fire rating was the water system.

"We have an opportunity for the city with the upcoming Spring River project to significantly increase the water flow to 2,500 gallons per minute. We need 3,000 gallons per minute to improve the rating. That can be accomplished with the purchase of efficient pumps and replacing some pipes in town with approximately eight-inch pipe," Scott said. "This will massively increase the amount of water the fire department has available to fight fires."

Roberts reported that the Northeast Arkansas Regional Water Authority project, which will provide water to Hoxie from the Spring River, will be completed in 12 to 18 months.

City Police Chief Glen Smith advised the council that no one is allowed in the police radio room or terminal area that is not certified to be there. This rule will need to be strictly enforced or the city may receive a $10,000 fine.

Danny Nichols asked the council to install a sewer line for his daughter's home, which is the last house on Goldman Street. Roberts told Nichols that he would send Bob Boyd to investigate options.

Roberts also alerted the council to the census training that will be conducted in the Hoxie Service Center Feb. 22-26.

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