February 20, 2013 Edition

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Hoxie mayor says sewer
pump 'critical' issue


Susan Johnson
Contributing Writer

In his "State of the City" address Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker said the city will be "facing some challenges in the future" and listed several issues that needed to be addressed in the coming months.

The meeting was held Feb. 12 at the Hoxie Service Center due to the current audit underway at city hall.

The "most critical" issue facing Hoxie residents is sewer pump and infrastructure problems, which Mayor Tinker described as "the most expensive replacement cost of any of the operating systems."

The city of Hoxie experienced several water and sewer disruptions in January. City officials are currently working with Miller Newell Engineers firm to correct the problems.

The city has also received a loan from the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission for sewer and water improvements. The 20-year loan, at 4 percent interest, will hold a $22,800 annual payment or $1,900 monthly. The payment will be taken from the current sewer fund, which Tinker said they should be able to do and still leave the minimum operating balance in the fund.

The need for the loan is due to pumping station #2, which Tinker said had failed twice in January. He said should it or station #1 go down then half or the entire city will lose all sewer services. "This purchase is critical," Tinker said.

The loan should be available within 90 days and then the bidding process will begin, along with a public hearing. Tinker said city officials were working with other vendors in order to have a bypass pump available for an emergency situation. In addition to repairs to pump stations other critical areas in need of improvements include:

  • replacement of approximately 500 feet of sewer pipe between Carolina and Kelly streets.

  • replacement of several hundred feet of force sewer pipe at Pine Street.

  • repair of a water leak under Highway 63B, one block west of Wayne's Hometown Market.

  • repair of a grinder pump problem at Compress Road.

To help with the financial crunch, aldermen approved a motion by Sherry Moore to reduce council members' pay by 25 percent for the remainder of 2013, along with Karen Williams' motion to reduce the mayor's salary by $2,500.

Aldermen also approved an ordinance to suspend bidding and purchase a used backhoe from Matt Kopp at a cost of $15,000. Tinker said last year the city paid over $6,000 for extra backhoe rentals when the street department backhoe was not available.

The council also gave the go ahead to Fire Chief Will Tate to condemn the house at 915 Southwest Broad Street. The house burned Oct. 6, and although the incident is still under investigation, Mayor Tinker said they had been given approval by the arson investigators to proceed with the cleanup. Mayor

Tinker described the area as a "health hazard and eyesore."

In other business the council:

  • adopted the annual budget cleanup ordinance for the appropriation of funds.

  • authorized John Dulaney to sign checks for the police department to help meet the state requirement of two signatures.

  • approved a credit of 30 cents on water bills in regard to sprinkler water meters.

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