The Hope City Board held their second meeting for May on Tuesday, once again meeting virtually to comply with social distancing measures. After the meeting was called to order, the board was asked to consider an application for a COVID-19 grant. Chief JR Wilson stated that he had identified $7,609.49 in funds needed to cover protective supplies and some overtime due to COVID-19. Some municipalities in Arkansas were awarded money to cover these expenses, but the state also set money aside for those municipalities that did not receive funding. Since Hope was one of the municipalities not awarded, an application must be filled out and submitted to the DFA by May 31. Wilson asked the board to authorize submission of the application. The board voted to approve the submission.
City Manager, Catherine Cook updated the board on the roof of the city hall. The roof has been leaking for a while and water is now running down the walls into the building. She stated that although some capital projects are being put aside at this time, the roof really needs to be completed to prevent any more possible damage. Cook said that the roof is 94 years old and it looks like the roof has never been completely off and the decking redone. Jerry Hollensworth, of Trull Hollensworth finished the plans and Cook presented those to the board for approval to bid the job out. Director Coffee made a motion to proceed with the bidding, with Director Clark seconding the motion and the board voted to approve the bidding process for the roof.
Cook updated the board on current projects. She said that AT&T and Centerpoint are still not finished with relocation on 6th street, but they have been working that area the last few weeks. The surveying has been completed on the streetscape project and contractors are on track to submit the 30% stage of the plan to ARDot by June 30. Cook discussed city revenue, saying that the state has cut general turnback almost 13% for the remainder of the fiscal year and they have said they will cut 15% for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The sales tax report for March has still not been received, but by estimating and basing an amount on no hard data, it looks like revenue may be down about $60,000. Cook explained that these estimates include turnback cuts, no revenue from district courts, no reimbursement for school resource officers and several other factors. She encouraged the board to consider waiting on moving forward with some city projects until they see where the sales tax funds end up.
Mayor Montgomery asked about the city pool. There has been $10,000 to look into what is wrong with the pool and he asked if they should move forward with looking into that now or wait until next year. Director Talley stated that she would like to go ahead and look into things to see what the issues are, but not necessarily open the pool due to restrictions. Director Still stated that he thought they should wait so that they can fix all of the issues and potentially have a long season, instead of repairing a problem now, opening the pool and other problems arise during the season. Mayor Montgomery stated that he agreed with Director Talley to move forward with finding out what the issues are, but is concerned about spending that money at this time. Director Coffee stated that he also agreed with Director Talley, so that they could find the issues now instead of waiting until next year to find out the issues. The board decided to move forward with finding out what repairs are going to need to be made to have the pool in working order, especially since Hope Water and Light has agreed to assist them in trying to pinpoint problems.
Mayor Montgomery commented that an individual had approached him about renaming Kelly Fields to Henley fields, after Paul Henley for his years of service to the parks. He stated that Kelly fields was named about 30 years ago after an individual that had housing complexes in Hope. Montgomery said that someone had also requested one of the ball fields be named after Jack Williams, who recently passed away and had been an umpire for many years. Director Coffee asked if the soccer complex had someone’s name and stated that they should take advantage of an unnamed field for Mr. Henley instead of removing an existing name. Director Clark asked if they could think on it the matter to get some more input from the public and revisit at a later meeting. The board agreed to bring that back to the table at a future meeting.
Director Coffee said that he would like to applaud Summer Powell for being responsive to comments and questions on the park’s facebook page. He also said he noticed that Cook had Hope recognized in the City and Town magazine for the census work that had been done. Coffee asked about the sign for pavilion park and Cook stated that she had not received anything back from the college on that, but will contact them. Coffee reminded the board that the Farmer’s Market had started back this week at the HUB and will be underway each Tuesday. He asked about the plaque for the Graves Family that the pavilion committee had discussed and Cook stated that she had sent some language to the family for the plaque and will get back in touch with them to see how they would like for it to read.
Director Talley stated that she had residents contact her who were concerned about dumping on Old Experiment Station Road. She asked if they could place signs in that area or if there were other ways to deter that. Cook stated that signage has been installed in the past, but she will check to see if it has been removed. She stated that this has been an ongoing issue in that area and she will have someone out to remove the garbage as soon as possible. Talley also stated that she had noticed cameras on the lights at the intersections on 3rd street and asked if that was a city or a state project. Cook responded that the cameras have been there since those lights were changed out, but they are not videoing to record anything. The video picks up movement to change the timing of the lights based on traffic.
Director Clark commented on the new banners downtown, saying that they look great and that the downtown area looks really nice. Cook stated that the banners were purchased by Hope Tourism and Hope Downtown Network and were installed last week. The next Hope City Board meeting will be held on June 2, 2020