March 17, 2010 Edition

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Hoxie continues membership
in NEA Intermodal Authority

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Hoxie City Council voted at its March 9 meeting to continue its commitment to the Northeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority by making a second yearly payment of $13,333.

The authority was established in 2008 and allows two or more counties and municipalities to become a "political subdivision" to unite methods of transportation to enhance and attract industry.

Participating communities make equal contributions each year as seed money used to qualify for state and federal grants to fund building and operation efforts. Contributions depend upon the number of committed entities.

The intermodal authority now has the pledged support of Lawrence County, Randolph County, Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and Corning. Clay County has just joined the intermodal authority, which will bring payments down to approximately $11,100 starting next year.

The goal is that this money will be returned to communities through successful funding and operation of the authority.

The council was also addressed by Hoxie resident John Holt regarding a potential new industry in the Hoxie and Walnut Ridge area. Holt said while he believes the industry would benefit the area, he expressed concern about one of the potential locations.

Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts said that there are three local sites that this business is considering. Holt said he is concerned that if the plant is built in one of the potential locations it could jeopardize the property value of homes in the southeast and northeast portion of Hoxie and other potential businesses in the area.

"This is the best thing that has happened to this area in a long time," he said. "I am not objecting to the plant coming in, just concerned about the location of the business because of noise and smell pollution."

Trash is concern

Also during the meeting, Ted Shields, pastor of Faith Tabernacle, shared concerns regarding the accumulation of trash in the mini-storage buildings just behind the church. He observed that when individuals move belongings out of the storage units that often trash is just piled up. He said he and his congregation have cleaned up the area themselves several times because it makes the area near the church unsightly.

"The owners seem to be conscientious to the problem, but once the trash is out there, it stays for a while," Shields said.

He requested that mini-storage businesses be required to provide receptacles for trash and have a pickup service.

The cleanup ordinance already in place stipulates that a code enforcement officer will write a warning letter that gives the offender a 10-day warning before a citation is issued. However, for this particular issue, it was decided that the mayor and the code enforcement officer will visit with the five owners of Hoxie storage unit businesses to discuss the situation and possible solutions.

Shields also requested advice on constructing a safe house built using a container attached and anchored to several feet of concrete. An ordinance already in place prohibits any ship or railroad containers to be used in Hoxie. Shields was advised to seek the approval of a container by the code enforcement officer prior to use.

Repairs needed to sewer pond, levy

Bob Boyd, water and sewer superintendent, advised the council regarding the repair of the sewer pond and levy. The pond was repaired over 12 years ago and has since disintegrated over time. Several washed-out areas can be seen.

Pratt advised that the entire pond needs to be lined one foot thick and five feet deep using B-stone. It was decided that the job will be bid out with specifications, but it was estimated that it probably would not cost the city over $10,000. This project has not been budgeted for, but was approved by the council due to necessity.

An advertisement for bids will be placed in both The Times Dispatch and Jonesboro Sun. A special meeting to approve bids was tentatively set for Monday at 5 p.m. at City Hall.

Dale Johnson brought up questions about two different Hoxie streets. The first was an alleyway near Paula Street that now has deep ruts caused by rain. Roberts said that he would have the alleyway smoothed.

The second was regarding Clay and Paula Streets. "If the streets of Paula and Clay have not been dedicated to the city how can it be surveyed?" Johnson asked. "Are the survey stakes located where the road is supposed to be cornered?"

Pratt answered that, as far as he understood it, the street was surveyed using property boundary guidelines and that some of the stakes were placed as starting points, not street corners.

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