Arkadelphia, Ark. –

The Arkadelphia City Board of Directors met Monday to consider an ordinance assessing a five mill tax against real and personal property; bids on 10 in-car video systems; a resolution accepting a USDA grant for police units; an ordinance approving financing of the police units and an ordinance waiving competitive bidding.

An ordinance is required each year to collect a five mill assessment tax on real and personal property within the corporate limits of Arkadelphia. Directors Brenda Hagerich and James Calhoun noted that the tax is not an increase or a new tax. It passed unanimously.

City staff advertised for 10 in-car video systems for the Toyota Camry hybrid police cars the board recently purchased. The bids were opened publicly on July 31, and two bids were received: Kustom Signals, Inc., in Lenexa, Kan., in the amount of $47,528.90 and Watchguard Video in Plano, Texas, in the amount of $65,295.75.

Kustom Signals submitted the lowest bid and met specifications city officials requested. Police Chief Al Harris spoke to the board about his research. He said he spoke to police officials from the City of Bentonville, which used Kustom Signals, and they were happy with their service, logistics and technical support. Hagerich thanked Harris for his research. The board unanimously passed the ordinance.

Directors also unanimously voted to accept a resolution to accept a $57,000 grant from the USDA for the new hybrid police cars and the ordinance to finance them.

After requesting quotes from local banks, Southern Bancorp submitted a 3.4 percent quote. The price is $373,427.65 for all 10 units, and the amount to be financed is $203,638 for five years with monthly payments of $3,699.73 beginning Oct. 1. According to a memo in the agenda’s packet, the project came in over budget by about $30,000, but is expected to save more than $30,000 per year for the next five years, requiring the board to pass the ordinance with an emergency clause.
There was little discussion about the resolution and ordinance. Don Hager said the grant would more than cover the cost of the in-car cameras, so he was happy with the grant.

In June, Rick Brumley, director of parks and recreation, instructed $24,485 worth of work to begin on a girls’ softball field at the Youth Sports Complex. Included in the packet were four invoices from B&R Construction Co., Inc., ranging from $1,820 to $13,305 for land materials and heavy equipment work. In a memo from City Manager Jimmy Bolt, “While his enthusiasm is appreciated and his desire to construct facilities is honorable, his lapse of judgment in processing the project is not.

Corrective actions have been taken with the director to ensure that (it) will not happen again.”

Approval of the ordinance was required before the payment could be made. Hagerich asked how something similar could be prevented in the future. Bolt said it should have never happened in the first place. He said if Brumley had been a five-year employee he would have been fired, but since he was a 30-year employee with no other corrective actions in his personnel file, he was not fired.

Hager moved to accept the ordinance, followed by a second from Calhoun. The measure passed unanimously. Calhoun said he “regrets it happened in the manner it did … but at the same time, I appreciate the zeal. I hope we can find the funds and move forward with the girls’ softball field.” He said city employees need to “be careful about the bidding process.”

In Bolt’s city manager report, he congratulated Jennifer Bryant, the city’s payroll/accounts payable clerk, for being selected for the 2009 Leadership Clark County class.

He said the GovDeal auction “went very well. We are excited about the outcome of the auction.” The board recently entered into an agreement with GovDeal, an online bidding company for cities and organizations to auction off equipment. The service is similar to eBay.

FEMA has completed its study of the Clark County flood plain, and a new flood plain map is anticipated to be adopted per FEMA regulations. Bolt said there is “not much change” in the new flood plain map.

City staff attended a roundtable meeting in Mena, hosted by U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, about recovery from a tornado.

Bolt and Mayor Chuck Hollingshead attended the opening dedication of Ouachita Baptist University’s new Student Village.

City staff attended the ground-breaking ceremony for Phoenix Renewable Energy in Camden.
The Hunting and Fishing Expo, held recently at the Parks and Recreation Center, “went well for a first time event, and I look forward to the one next year,” Bolt said.

Preliminary work has begun for the city’s 2010 budget.

City staff is “continuing on the old Deaton Cleaners building. I would prefer not to ‘show my hand’ at this time, but we are working to address the issue.”

The annual board retreat is scheduled for Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In routine business, Hagerich welcomed students, and said that there are plenty of Welcome Week activities.

Hager echoed, adding that motorists should use extra caution while driving in Arkadelphia. “Slow down,” he said.

DeDe Baldwin noted that she helped her daughter move in to OBU’s Student Village and said she is “excited about the street sweeper.”

Calhoun said he also attended the dedication ceremony for the Student Village, and appreciates Henderson and Ouachita. He said both schools often use local services. “We need to shop local when we can.” He said he enjoyed the Hunting and Fishing Expo, also, and added that the Arkadelphia Football Club is scheduled to meet soon.

Hollingshead said the city has received “good publicity” recently with the purchase of the hybrid police cars.