Hoxie approves water rate increase
At its Jan. 8 meeting the Hoxie City Council unanimously adopted Ordinance No. 2013-1, which authorized an increase in water rates for customers connected to the municipal water system. Cost increases were deemed necessary to offset the expense associated with becoming a member of and purchasing water from the Northeast Arkansas Regional Water Authority.
The cost of water for 2012 from the authority was $153,963.00, which was $28,596 more than had been estimated. The cost also increased by 28 percent for 2013.
Tinker announced that the city stayed within the budget in 2012 after reducing expenses. He also thanked Katie Smith and Jim Kirksey for their assistance in developing the city budget process.
A special meeting was scheduled for Jan. 15 to approve the 2013 budget.
After adoption of the final budget, copies will be available at the city hall for distribution to the public.
Mayor Lanny Tinker reported that the city has been experiencing water and sewer disruptions due in part to extreme weather changes and also because of ongoing failures in the city's aging infrastructure.
Tinker said the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission is in the process of funding a 100 percent loan, which will make it possible to replace four major sewer pumps. He said the project has top priority, and the city is working with Miller-Newell Engineers of Newport to replace them as soon as possible. The remaining funds will be used to complete water meter replacement and to fix other water and sewer infrastructure issues.
The mayor also announced that he wanted to complete the codification of ordinances project and planned to ask the council to earmark a portion of his salary reduction to pay for the completion of the project.
The Arkansas Municipal League assists cities in rearranging city ordinance into a friendlier user's version.
"I believe it is the duty of every municipality to maintain its laws in a comprehensive, up-to-date and understandable form in a location where the average citizen
can find and use them," Tinker said.
In other business:
- Tinker told the council that the city has see some progress in cleaning up eyesores and plans to continue to enforce current building codes and develop new ones. He said he commended the efforts made by many property owners to improve their sites.
- The council also learned that the rezoning and planning process was about 50 percent complete.