January 19, 2011 Edition

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Hoxie Council approves
road, alleyway closure

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

A public hearing regarding a petition by David Onstead was conducted by City Attorney Robert Gibson immediately prior to the Hoxie City Council meeting on Jan 11.

Onstead requested that a portion of Kelly Drive and an alleyway be closed. Gibson reported that all utility paperwork was in order and that the city would need to reserve an easement to provide service for sewer and utilities.

Resident Michael Tillman brought up concerns regarding access to the fire hydrant if the alleyway south of Kelly Drive was closed.

Gibson explained that the alleyway that would affect Tillman and neighbors was in the original proposal, but was withdrawn from the present petition. The present ordinance only includes the alleyway north of Kelly Drive.

Resident Redda Russell said, "The new ordinance fits in with what Hoxie Planning and Zoning Commission requested."

After all who requested to speak were heard, the regular meeting began.

Alderman Richard Combs questioned Onstead's level of commitment since there was no one to represent the project at the meeting and because of previous concerns.

"I believe that Onstead is very serious about this project," Russell said. "He may be cautious because he did not receive a warm reception here initially. I've talked personally with him and have had good reports as I've researched his business dealings. I am very impressed with the man."

City Council Member Sherry Moore said, "Onstead must be sincere about building, because he has already made improvements to the property, including tearing down an old barn."

Mayor Lanny Tinker said, "I think Hoxie needs positive developments like this housing project, and I believe we can proceed with this ordinance while still accommodating unresolved concerns."

The ordinance was approved with an amendment stating that the ordinance of abandoning a portion of Kelly Drive and the indicated alleyway would only proceed when Onstead provides a plan for the platt that is approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Tinker gives report

A mayor's report was given by Tinker.

"I've only been on the job for seven days so far and have found everyone extremely cooperative," he said. "I intend to make a high level of communication a major component of my administration and plan to provide a mayor's report at every council meeting."

Tinker reported already meeting with the heads of each city department and plans to meet with each city employee. Raymond Walker, at the request of Bobby Boyd, was appointed interim director of the Water and Sewer Department.

Junior Waldrupe was also appointed director of the Street and Sanitation Department. Presently the mayor and Waldrupe are focusing on three areas: the city's equipment, a maintenance plan and a comprehensive street assessment plan.

The new garbage truck has not yet been delivered, but the city is in process of coordinating with the vendor for delivery arrangements.

Tinker and Hoxie Police Chief Glen Smith are working to present two messages to Hoxie citizens. The first is to encourage citizens to report any suspicious activities to the police department. The second is to inform drug dealers that any illegal drug activities in Hoxie will be aggressively prosecuted.

Tinker also discussed plans to put in place routines that help city officials to accurately evaluate the needs of Hoxie citizens, as well as to improve training and budget evaluations, among other things. A project to make the code laws easily available and "user friendly" is already in process.

"I don't want people to think that I am criticizing anyone in anyway by making changes," Tinker said. "I believe Hoxie is filled with great employees, council members and citizens."

The mayor's report will be posted at Hoxie City Hall for review by residents.

Tinker also said that during the February meeting he will present a State of the City Address.

"I am working hard to have a thorough understanding of all of Hoxie's issues, weaknesses, strengths and provide strategies to meet the needs of our citizens," he said.

The meeting was also the first for new alderman Tim Taylor.

In other business:

  • it was reported that there have been some stop signs removed on Compress Road. Both the Hoxie and Walnut Ridge police have been informed to diligently ticket speeding drivers.

  • council meetings have been relocated to the Hoxie Service Center. The council will continue to meet at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. Hoxie Court will also be temporarily relocated. This will allow for needed renovations on City Hall to address safety and efficiency issues of the physical layout.

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