July 21, 2010 Edition

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Hoxie discusses streets, ISO rating

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Four city council meetings from July 1 to 15 centered on improving the streets and ISO rating in Hoxie.

Mayor Donnie Roberts reported that he is receiving several phone calls a day from residents regarding the need to improve Hoxie streets.

Terrell Downing met with the council on July 1 to give advice on the condition of the budget. Downing reported that there is about $71,000 more in the street budget now than at the same time last year. The council decided to use $60,000 more, in addition to the initial $60,000 already planned, to improve the condition of the streets in Hoxie most in need of repair as later prioritized in a meeting held on July 6.

More discussion was centered on street improvement during the regular council meeting on July 13. Beverly Moore requested asphalt be put on Burke Street. The council agreed and on July 15 added Burke to the list, with four other streets, to be improved this year. The city of Hoxie has improved a total of 21 streets this year.

"We have spent over $200,000 this year on street improvement alone. This is more than has been spent in several years," said Roberts.

"Depending on revenue, we plan to spend that much next year as well. Our focus over the next four years will be streets, water and sewer line upgrading."

Wayne Menley, of Miller-Newell Engineers, Inc., was invited to speak at a special meeting on July 12 regarding the pump size and water flow, as well as available grants to help improve the ISO rating. Dewey Scott also spoke at this meeting regarding the basic changes Hoxie faces to improve water pressure needed to reduce the ISO rating to a 3.

Menley said he believes Hoxie will need two pumps, at an estimated cost of $8,000 each, and one large fire pump, at an estimated cost of $20,000.

Since the issue regards fire protection only, he is not aware of many grants. Menley suggested investigating grant possibilities with the USDA. Menley proposed that he conduct an in-depth analysis on the situation found in Hoxie before he gives specific details regarding pump and waterline needs.

"This is not an easy task," Menley said. "It may take two to three months to complete an analysis, depending on the information I am provided."

Also discussed in the July 13 council meeting:

  • Susan O'Connor asked the council to purchase an ad in the 2010-2011 County Guide called Lawrence County Living, which is being developed in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce. Five thousand copies of this publication will be distributed through real estate agencies, schools and other locations to aid visitors and those relocating to Lawrence County. The council purchased a half-page advertisement.

  • Pat Sluder, code enforcement officer for Hoxie, reviewed the cleanup citation process of a 10-day verbal warning, followed by a 10-day written warning and then written citation followed by a court date for violators. Sluder also said that she is focusing on cleanup only and has not issued any condemnation notices. During the meeting, resident John Holt praised Sluder's work.

  • Resident Dale Johnson and Alderman Adam Pratt approached the council with a suggestion to eliminate the water meter deposit required for separate outdoor use meters. At present, the city charges a $75 deposit for each meter, for example, $75 for the house and another $75 for a meter used for watering the lawn, filling up a pool, etc. The separate meter eliminates sewer fees on water that will not pass through the sewer system.

    Roberts said, "The deposit helps us recoup money from those who move without paying their bill. Those who are current on their bills receive the deposit back after moving." No council decision was made.

  • Resident Robert Clay presented his desire to have Paula Street paved to help him get about in his wheelchair. He expressed that he was unhappy that the realtor did not inform him that the street was not a dedicated street of Hoxie and would not be paved when he bought his home. The city attorney said that Hoxie does not have any responsibility regarding Paula Street since it is not a dedicated street.

  • Linda Tyson, Hoxie police radio dispatcher, said that she would like the council to consider changing medical insurance from a straight deductable insurance plan to one that uses co-pays. At present the city pays 100 percent of insurance premiums. No decision was made.

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