Piggott Council Approves Funding for Roof Project

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Repair of the roof of the community center dominated Monday night's meeting of the Piggott City Council. Alderman hosted a public hearing on the matter, voted to authorize the issuance of a revenue bond and approved a resolution to allow the city to borrow the necessary funds. Mayor Jim Poole also updated council on several projects, and an acquisition by the street department during the regular monthly gathering.

The public hearing on gaining issuance of the bond was held prior to the regular meeting, although no members of the public attended.

Afterward, Poole called the meeting to order with aldermen Lester Edwards, Mike Cook and Jamey Parks in attendance. Alderman Jeff Benbrook was out of town at the time, and unable to attend. Also on hand were city clerk Ramona Magee, city attorney Kimberly Dale, city treasurer Jamie Cluck and utilities director Brian Haley.

After dispensing with the approval of minutes, and clerk's report, council addressed the ordinance which authorizes a capital improvement bond for the community center roof project. "This is required for us to get the loan, and once it's issued the bond will be purchased by the government," Poole explained.

The ordinance was approved, as the council voted to waive the stipulation it be read on three separate occasions. The accompanying emergency clause was also approved on a roll call vote 3-0.

Council then considered, and approved, a resolution which allows the city to borrow the necessary funds to complete the project. The $300,000 loan will be paid back with 2.75 percent interest at a payment of $1,687 a month for 20 years.

"We don't have a choice, we either fix the community center roof or it continues to deteriorate and could some day fall in on us," Poole surmised.

He estimated the bond sale would be conducted, and bid process completed, by September.

The resolution was approved on a roll call vote without dissent.

Mayor Poole also updated council on the Safe Routes to School grant, a joint effort with Piggott Public Schools. He noted work would be starting around Aug. 1, and the contract deadline is Oct. 31, to have the project completed.

"They'll be doing South Garfield, by the old gym first," he explained. "They'll be adding lights and a speed bump. It's a 10-foot wide speed bump, with the crosswalk on top of it."

The crossing in front of PES, on East Main Street, will also be upgraded with lights and signs as part of the effort, with the work paid for by the grant.

Under new business, Poole informed the alderman of the recent purchase of a broom for the street department.

"We had been paying to have the streets sweeped, but found they just weren't getting all of the sand and dirt," he explained. "The problem just seemed to be getting worse, and needed to be addressed."

The new unit is a Case broom, which is mounted to the front of a skid-steer, often referred to as Bobcats. Poole noted it attached to the front of the skid-steer, and could easily be removed. He noted the smaller size also allowed the operator to get into tight locations, such as parking lots.

"We had the money in the equipment budget for the street department, and the unit cost just over $6,000," he added. "It will really make a difference around town."

Poole also shared a measure of bad news concerning a recent inspection of the HVAC units at the Piggott Community Center. He noted all of the 11 units at the center were suffering from poor maintenance, and indicated about $19,000 in immediate repairs and refurbishment are needed.

"In the future we'll have the units cleaned and serviced twice a year," he explained.

Four ordinances were also approved by council, in light of recent legal opinions concerning elected officials, and their family members, doing business with public entities. To align with the new recommendation, ordinances were prepared which allow the city to do business with Alderman Jamey Parks, Alderman Jeff Benbrook, Mayor Poole and Clerk Ramona Magee, based on her involvement with Magee Auction.

Council members voted 3-0 to approve the first three ordinances, while Parks excused himself from the vote on the one which concerned him. Based on the procedural rules, Poole voted on the fourth measure to constitute a quorum. It also passed 3-0 on a roll call vote, as did the accompanying emergency clauses.

Later, the aldermen heard an update on the 12th Street project, as Poole reported one of the recent downpours washed out a 20-foot section of the recently installed tile. He also noted bids are currently being gathered for removal of the trees on the west side of the street.

Council members also voted 3-0 to sign a new contract with the Central Clay Regional Water Distribution District. "It's basically the same contract we've been in for years with them," Haley explained. "The only change is that it is now an annual contract, and we had been doing one every five years."

Haley also reported bids are being opened this week for the paint project concerning the water tower in the industrial park. He also indicated he would be meeting with representatives of Verizon about the antenna on the tower, and how they'll be addressed during the painting project. The fluoridation equipment project was also updated, as Haley indicated the new pieces of equipment should be installed in the fall.

In his update, Poole informed council personnel with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department are visiting the city this week. He noted the city is hoping to have the state pave West Clay Street from the courtsquare past Wright's Chapel Church. "They'll be coming here to evaluate the project, it's about a $250,000 job," he added.

He also indicated the city is beginning the bid process on the sale of the building on South Third Avenue, which has been used for storage the past several years.

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