November 22, 2017 Edition

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Hoxie Fire Chief Chris Ditto (left) points out some of the features of the helicopter piloted by Survival Flight to Alderman Kerrie Hancock during a presentation held at the Nov. 14 meeting.
TD Photo ~ Megan Heyl

Hoxie raises water rates

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Hoxie City Council voted to increase water rates at the Nov. 14 meeting. The increase was necessary to offset an increase being made by the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority in December.

The rate the city pays for water will go up approximately eight percent. The council looked at a range of increase for residents and agreed that an 18 percent increase, from $7 per thousand gallons to $8.25 per thousand, would not only offset the authority's increase but would also provide additional funds for repairs.

The council approved the rate of $8.25 per thousand gallons for the first 35,000 gallons, water used over 35,000 will be $5 per 1,000 gallons, an increase from $4.60. Industrial customers will be $8.25 per thousand for all usage.

Also at the meeting, Mike Emmons with Survival Flight of Pocahontas gave a presentation about their membership program.

Emmons said Survival Flight is currently the closest medical helicopter service. While he still recommends remaining a member of other services, he said that Survival Flight would typically be the first one called for Lawrence County.

Regular annual rates are $50 per household but special rates are available for the city, including a group plan at $40 per household paid by the employee if so many sign up or a site plan where the city pays $10 per employee for on-duty hours and the employee may pay $30 if they want coverage when off duty.

Mayor Lanny Tinker said he would have some figures to present to the council at a future meeting.

In other business:

the council approved a Christmas bonus of $400 for each full-time employee. Part-time employees will not receive a bonus as they were previously put in place for the dispatch operators who worked long hours. Since moving dispatch to the county it was deemed unnecessary.

council members approved a bid from Hoxie Square Post on a 30-by-40-foot building at $14,500. The building will house the sewer truck and other equipment, which requires climate control. The water and sewer funds will each pay half.

Fire Chief Chris Ditto said preparations are still being made to improve the department's ISO rating and the recently purchased engine is exceeding expectations. He added that there is still one truck needed to get the rating down and the volunteer firefighters are willing to waive their checks they get when they make a run in order to purchase the truck. Ditto commended the volunteers for their support. "They want to be the best they can be."

Tinker was authorized to pursue bids on both a grain bed truck and a roll-off bed truck to see which would be the better option for the city. The truck will be used as a drop-off point for citizens to discard class-IV waste.

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