August 18, 2010 Edition

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Hoxie council hears
update on projects

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

At the Aug. 10 city council meeting, Hoxie's Code Enforcement Officer Pat Sluder submitted pictures of two properties recommended for condemnation, as previously requested by the city council.

The council authorized a title search to be done on each property to determine previous liens and costs of clean-up before deciding on which property to first pursue. Without any special meetings called, the process from sending the first letter to being able to enter the property to begin cleanup would take about three months.

ISO rating progress discussed

Dewey Scott gave an update on ISO rating progress to council members. Hoxie's ISO rating dropped to a 6 in 2007, saving an average of $100 per person on house insurance premiums. The goal now is to advance the rating to a 4 or 3 with improvements in the water and fire departments.

"So where are we in meeting this goal?" asked Scott.

Upon receiving reports from the fire department, Scott said to meet the ISO goal, Hoxie would be required to have fire trucks pump 3,000 gallons per minute. At present time the three trucks are supposed to pump 1,250 each, but one is in the process of being fixed and all three trucks need to be tested. The repairs and tests should be completed by the end of August. Tests are conducted at the Black River Fire Testing Center.

"In review, out of the 105 hydrants in Hoxie, two test flow between 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per minute, 37 test between 500 to 999 gallons per minute, 65 pumps flow under 500 gallons per minute and one is not working," Scott said. "Out of the 85 structures that need a pre-fire plan detailing doors, windows and layout, Hoxie only has one plan on file. The structures that need a pre-fire plan are any business, school, daycare or apartment complexes, along with other buildings."

Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts said, "We are considering paying volunteer firefighters to go to these other structures and make a pre-fire plan."

Scott also covered a letter sent by Wayne Menley of Miller-Newell Engineers, Inc. Menley stated that the estimated engineering costs for water system improvements that Hoxie is facing are in two general areas.

The first is a design for a water boosting station that would improve the existing system and tanks needed to meet ISO needs. The engineering cost for this plan is $10,000.

The second system needed would be to help get water to the pumps. To do this, Menley suggested setting up and performing a hydraulic analysis of the existing water system to determine what improvements are needed to meet ISO rating goals. The estimated engineering cost for this service would be $15,000.

"We don't need to concern ourselves with the second system until the first is in place," said Scott.

Roberts said that according to Crist Engineers, the firm working with the Northeast Arkansas Regional Water Authority, the city may have the power necessary to get the water to the pumps built-in with the new water system pressure. Roberts will call to confirm that pressure will meet the ISO rating needs of 3,000 gallons per minute.

The ISO rating will continue to be reviewed monthly to ensure progress.

Legislative audit results reviewed

The 2008-2009 legislative audit results were also reviewed by council members.

"It was a very good audit," said City Clerk Katie Smith. "There were only three supplemental findings that needed to be addressed."

The first was a problem involving $710 in the police department when the computer system was changed. "That issue is already being taken care of," said Glen Smith, Hoxie police chief.

The next two findings were in the city office departments. One was when the city overlooked putting information in a proof of publication. The second was that the city did not bid out the work nor oversee the building of Save-A-Lot, but since the money was a loan the city did not believe that involvement was necessary. Both of these findings have already been corrected.

The council considered property on Goldman Street offered by Josh Longmire. The land is about a third of an acre and in a triangle shape. Since the property would only require upkeep and is too small to build a house, the council decided not to accept the property.

Water deposit policy clarified

Resident Dale Johnson asked for clarification about how the water deposit was used to "recoup" money lost.

"There are usually two months of water bills owed when people move away. The deposit helps cover this bill, but one person's deposit is not used to cover someone else's bills." Katie Smith said, "Right now there are over $150,000 worth of bad debts just from unpaid water bills."

Katie Smith explained that people cannot get water turned on in Hoxie unless past bills are paid. The city is also working with other cities to ensure payment of past water debts before water is turned on in other areas.

Resident Larry Couch asked about the confusion of the one-way exit and entrance at Save-A-Lot. Roberts said he will approach Save-A-Lot owners and request something be done to clarify the traffic flow.

Johnson also reported to the council that he understood that Roberts would waive a dog pick-up fee and it wasn't done at the end of July. Roberts said that because Johnson's dog had been out just days prior to when it was picked up that he did not alter the dog pick-up fee.

Glen Smith said, "This dog situation is getting out of hand."

Johnson said that he believes someone else is taking his dog off his property. He said that he has now electrified his fence and, according to his insurance company, does not need to notify anyone.

Johnson said, "If someone gets shocked, it is not my fault."

In other business:

  • Joe Hudson requested that the city clean a ditch out on Maple Street.

  • Linda Tyson, city employee, asked the city clerk to stop pursuing a new insurance once she discovered that the city insurance plan already includes a wellness plan.

  • it was announced that a meeting to plan Dickens in the Park is set for Aug. 26 at 6:30 at Hoxie City Hall.

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