June 22, 2011 Edition

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Hoxie gives funds for monument

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Hoxie City Council voted to support the Hill Foundation Incorporated's Hoxie 21 monument project with a gold sponsorship totaling $250.

The Hill Foundation has announced plans for a monument to be placed on the grounds of the State Capitol. The monument celebrates when 21 black students were integrated into the Hoxie school system in 1955.

"It was a very important part of Hoxie's history, when Hoxie was the first school to desegregate in Arkansas" Mayor Lanny Tinker said.

A sketch of the monument will be unveiled on July 23 at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock during the 56th Commemoration Program.

The city council also discussed progress and improvements on projects in town.

"We have made some tremendous steps forward in understanding and improving the budget," Tinker said.

Tinker reported that department heads are a large part of this progress. They are meeting twice monthly to review services and cost saving issues that improve the overall city budget and individual departments.

The water and sewer rate change ordinance will be read during the next regular city council meeting in July. It is anticipated that the rate change will be put into operation on either the September or October water bill. The change to the new water system through the Northeast Arkansas Water Authority will probably occur in October.

Another large drain to the budget is the animal control issue. The average cost of caring for abandoned animals is over $500 monthly. A committee researching an alternative and improved ordinance has begun meeting. The ordinance will focus on providing for the safety of both animals and citizens in a cost-effective manner. Interested citizens are invited to participate. The committee meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.

"The problem is not the animal owners that care for their pets, but those that are negligent," Tinker said.

Plats for a subdivision proposed by David Onstead have been received at Hoxie City Hall. These will go to the Planning and Zoning Committee for review and approval.

It was also announced that the new garbage truck with chassis is now in Hoxie. Total cost was approximately $81,000. "It took seven months, five months longer than expected, but it is finally here," Tinker said.

Concerns regarding swimming pool safety were discussed, as well. Pool owners are responsible for accidents that occur in swimming pools without adequate fencing. The council agreed that an ordinance needs to be put in place and that even small pools can be a hazard.

"Many three-foot pools are dangerous to kids. Already this year there has been two or three children who have drowned in swimming pools in Arkansas," Tinker said. "It is recommended that at very least the owners take up their ladders when the pool is not in use and an ordinance may require fencing, as well."

Bob Boyd will soon be awarded a plaque by the city for his 30 years of service. Boyd retired as the water superintendent in 2011.

An auction featuring several vehicles and a few other items was announced for Saturday at 9 a.m. in the lot next to the Hoxie Service Center.

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