The Arkadelphia City Board passed three resolutions Thursday night: one concerning a 5 mill tax against personal property, one that adopts the Clark County Hazard Mitigation Plan and one applying for a parks improvement grant.
The first ordinance was the third and final reading of a 5 mill tax against real and personal property – a resolution the Clark County Quorum Court requires the board to pass each year. “This is not a new tax,” Director James Calhoun said in the Aug. 7 city board meeting.
Arkadelphia Fire Chief Ricky Arnold spoke about the Hazard Mitigation plan for the county. “This is not just a city thing,” he said. “It’s county wide.” The resolution called for adoption of a plan in order to receive FEMA funds in the event that a disaster occurs in the county. The plan identifies and assesses potential hazards.
Mike Volz, parks and recreation sports supervisor, spoke to the board about a grant for new softball fields at the Youth Sports Complex. The 50/50 matching grant will call for the city to match $25,000 with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism’s Outdoor Recreation Grants Program.
“Development of these fields is the next step in completing the Youth Sports Complex master plan,” Volz said. He said the reason behind choosing a softball field is because parks and recreation staff have been “listening to people who’d like to see softball” at the park.
Director Don Hager asked Volz if the fields would be adjustable for age.
“They will be adjustable for college-aged people to children as young as 8,” Volz said. The end product would call for six fields for both softball and baseball.
Vice Mayor Ann Sanders asked Jimmy Bolt, city manager, if the city has the 50 percent to match the grant.
“Yes,” Bolt said. “We’re not even out of our general tax revenue (for the year).”
“It won’t tap us out for the rest of the year?” Sanders said.
“No,” Bolt said.
Sanders said she just wanted to make sure the city had the money before she would vote for the grant. “Sometimes we buy what we want and beg for what we need.”
Calhoun moved to adopt the resolution, and Sanders seconded.
Bolt said, “I don’t want people to leave here thinking we’ll have a finished field.” The construction of the fields, he said, would be completed in phases, with the first phase including just a playable field without lights or other utilities. Other phases would be completed as funds become available. “We’re going to stretch tax dollars.” The resolution passed unanimously.
Volz thanked the board for adopting the resolution and said there are interest groups that are willing to help purchase items for the fields during construction.
Bolt gave the city manager’s report. He said the Royal Theatre project has continued to develop, as a draft business model is nearing (completion), the appraisal for the building is due Wednesday, and an architect is working on remodeling estimates and relationships with other interested parties continue to develop.
He said statements of qualifications to perform a feasibility study for the creation of a municipal utility and biomass electrical energy plant have been reviewed, and GDS Associates Inc. was the “top candidate” for the study. He said that city staff is working to develop a scope of services and a fee schedule to use to apply for a grant for the study.
Bolt said that he recently spoke at the Lions Club meeting and presented his three concepts: the reopening of Royal Theatre, a sustainability project and the creation of the municipal utility plant.
Over the past week, Epic Construction has removed four condemned houses in the city, and 15 more structures will be ready for condemnation by next month’s board meeting.
He said members of the city staff attended a State Aeronautics Commission meeting and was awarded a grant for the 5 percent match to complete the funding of the purchase of the 15.9 acres north of the airport. The city received the $7,600 check yesterday.
Staff members attended the legislative committee meetings at DeGray Lake Resort State Park lodge and Henderson State University on Monday and Tuesday. He thanked state Rep. Johnnie Roebuck for bringing the committee to the community and state Sen. Percy Malone for participating in the meetings.
A fall city board retreat is scheduled for Sept. 27 at the Recreation Center.
Bolt has been selected to participate in Leadership Arkansas for the 2008-2009 year. “I look forward to participating in the program that Paul Harvel developed,” he said. The program begins Sept. 14 and lasts until June 2009.
The Sept. 18 board meeting will include a public hearing for consideration of annexation. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than normal board meetings.
Street marking in downtown is scheduled for the first couple of weeks in September as weather permits. “I’ve never seen weather quite like this in August,” Bolt said.
Each director present gave their reports. Director Brenda Hagerich said she was glad to be back for the meetings. She had missed the last two meetings as she was on vacation.
Director Don Hager, on behalf of wet/dry petitioners, said he wanted to remind people to be aware of the status on their voter registration before signing a petition.
People who have not voted in the past eight years may not be on the voter rolls, and “will be in for a shock come November when they try to vote.” HSU volunteers will host voter registration and petition signing next week, and Clark County Strategic Plan volunteers will host voter registration in September, after the petition circulates. To check the status of voter registration, call the county clerk at 246-4491.
Calhoun said he is excited about the upcoming Scroll Technologies picnic. “It’s good for them to be in the city,” he said.
Mayor Chuck Hollingshead said that Dr. Charles Welch will do an excellent job as HSU’s new president.
He commended city staff and Fire Chief Ricky Arnold for the placement of a phone book recycling bin at 610 Caddo St.
Hollingshead, who signs proclamations honoring the elderly, said people in the city need to recognize the community’s senior citizens.
He said the “What’s Next” education forum was “well attended” with high school students interested in attending college and several representatives of colleges and universities throughout the state.Board OKs ordinances on tax, mitigation plan, improvement grant