November 21, 2012 Edition

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Hoxie City Council
discusses budget issues

Members of the Hoxie City Council met on Thursday and discussed the budget and related issues.

At the beginning of the meeting, Hoxie Assistant Fire Chief Will Tate addressed council members about purchasing a ladder truck for the fire department to help with the ISO rating. Council members agreed to explore the process of obtaining a ladder truck.

The budget committee is still tweaking the 2013 budget figures to provide services at the most economical level possible. The committee has devoted many hours evaluating budget issues but plans to have the preliminary budget available by the end of the month.

Current issues under review by the committee include revenue sources for the city. The city's state turn back revenue, which partially funds the street department, dropped $30,000 this year.

Other issues under review include the increased cost of gasoline for all departments, the increase in water cost from the Northeast Arkansas Water Authority and the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating, which could reduce homeowner rates by $100 to $250 per residence.

This year, the city reduced its overall budget by six percent as compared to the 2011 budget.

During the meeting, code enforcement issues were discussed and council members agreed to accept the donation of lot seven of block two of Ring's Addition by the owner.

The council voted to proceed with condemnation of 108 Northeast Fourth Street as recommended by the code enforcement officer and entered into an agreement with Citizens Bank of Batesville to remove a house located at 1001 Southwest Maple.

Members have agreed to adopt a floodplain management plan, which is required by FEMA. The plan, which will replace ordinance #462, will satisfy 44 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), section 60.3D, of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The new floodplain management regulations must be set by Dec. 18, and can be reviewed by all Hoxie residents at City Hall.

In addition, city council members passed resolution #2012-366 on Nov. 15 to declare its "official intent" for issuance of city bonds to acquire improvements to the city's wastewater system.

The City of Hoxie proposes to acquire, construct and equip improvements to the city's wastewater system, which is estimated to cost $283,799.

According to Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker, the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission is proposing to fund sewer improvements with a 100-percent loan.

The loan is set for the city to pay back over the next 20 years at four-percent interest, which will cost the city $22,800 a year or $1,900 per month.

"As of now the city will attempt to fund this project out of our current operating budget," said Mayor Tinker. "We will continue with this practice as long as we don't experience significant shortages in the sewer operating fund."

The city's attorney will draft a new ordinance, which should be available for passage within the next few weeks. The mayor will call a special meeting to discuss both wastewater funding and the floodplain ordinance.

Also during the meeting:

  • Hoxie residents Dominic and Stephanie Johnson addressed the council regarding a sewage problem in their yard on Midway Road.

  • Council members voted to provide a Christmas bonus to all city employees. The bonus will range from $25 to $100 for part-time employees based on hours and full-time employees will receive a $200 bonus.

  • It was announced that the city, in coordination with Hoxie Public School, paved a 195-foot by 16-foot section of street at the entrance to the new gym.

  • Council members congratulated Hoxie City Recorder Katie Smith who received this year's 2012 Lawrence County Community Service Award. The award was presented during the Chamber's annual banquet on Nov. 13 at Williams Baptist College.

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