Piggott Council Handles Lengthy Agenda
Members of the Piggott City Council handled a lengthy agenda at Monday night's regular meeting. Council members were updated on a variety of projects, set the meeting procedure organization for the coming year and heard good news on electric rates. Several appointments, and re-appointments, were also approved along with the Job Stimulus Board budget.
Under old business, council heard an update on the roof project at the community center. "The contractor is down there now working, and weather permitting the project will be well-underway in the coming days," Mayor Jim Poole indicated. "During the repair project we intend to keep the hours of operations at the community center the same, they shouldn't be affected."
Poole also reported the Safe Routes To School grant project is near complete, with only a few minor adjustments to the beacon lights needed.
Under new business, the council also take care of the annual chore of adopting the meeting procedure organization. Afterward, Poole offered his annual state of the city report.
In the report Poole updated all of the city departments, and outlined plans for the future. He noted his major emphasis for the coming year will be to promote the city in any manner possible, and encouraged others to do the same.
Also under new business, the council amended the agenda to include consideration of the Job Stimulus Board budget for the coming year. The budget was presented by board chair Mike Scott, and passed without dissent.
In a related measure, council approved the resignation of H.A. Wellman from the Job Stimulus Board, and in-turn voted to name Jared Lowe to fill out his unexpired term.
Based on Poole's recommendation, the council members voted to re-appoint Sean Martin and Dale Grimes to three-year terms on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and re-appointed Frank Staples to another term on the Board of Adjustments.
Utilities Director Brian Haley also reviewed the permits issued by the commission in the past year, and presented council members with a list.
Council also discussed Independence Park, and learned the electrical service is being re-connected after the recent improvements and addition of a transformer to serve the football field. Poole noted the city would be meeting with the school district and youth sports leagues on the shared use of the facility, which is home to the community's baseball and softball diamonds.
The 2015 audit was also reviewed and accepted by council members, with Poole indicating there were no adverse findings.
During his report Haley had some good news concerning electric rates, as the base is being rolled-back to reflect lower transmission costs. He noted the base rate, used to calculate the monthly fuel adjustment, is being dropped about two-tenths of one cent.
"The base rate has been .82 cents were kilowatt hour, and that is dropping to .7998, thanks mostly to reduced transmission costs," he explained. "Some of the savings are also due to the changes we made within our system when we made the change from point to point to network transmission."
Haley also indicated changes in the power marketplace are likely to impact the city in the future, as the Federal Government is opening the marketplace to private companies.
"There is a company which has acquired some of the transmission lines from Nixa, Mo., and we're not sure how this is going to impact us in the future," he explained. "Initially, it could mean an additional monthly cost of somewhere around $4,500, but if other entities continue to join our administration it could later equate to a credit--we just don't know how it's going to impact us right now."
Haley also told council members that he continues to monitor the new administration. "We're both excited and cautious about changes with the EPA, which of course would impact us directly" he offered.
He also indicated the work on Big River Steel continues, and noted their increased usage of power would be beneficial.
Haley also updated personnel matters, and indicated that thanks to the maintenance efforts power outages are down about 85 percent. He also noted crews would continue tree trimming as time allowed, and told council members the old street lights are being replaced with new LED fixtures and bulbs.
During his report on the water department, Haley indicated the work on the lift station on North Johnson is now complete. He also reported the water tower project in the industrial park was finished, but re-filling the tank has been delayed.
"When Verizon went back down there to re-install their antennae they found the cleats had been ground-off and had to be replaced," he explained. "When the installed the new ones they had to grind down to bare metal, and our engineers say it should be repaired with epoxy. So, they'll be going back up there to check it out, and that has delayed re-filling the tank for the time being."
He indicated after the repairs are completed the tank will be filled, chlorinated, tested, flushed and would then be ready for use.