Piggott Council Talks Costs of Roundabout Project

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Members of Piggott City Council met in regular session on March 28, all members were present.

The council discussed cost estimates for moving the utilities located at three of the sites where roundabouts have been proposed. For the work which would be contracted to move these utilities, the estimated costs were set at around $441,000.

The council briefly discussed the costs, with Mayor Travis Williams reassuring council members that there are ways of obtaining the money through non-interest loans or by obtaining the county's help. However, he reminded them if the city is able to prove the utilities were installed before the right of way was established, the city is not required to pay for moving the utilities.

In response, the council requested that city employees look into their records to find out if the utilities, or the right of way, was installed first. After which, they will discuss how to move forward.

In addition, council member and fire chief Jeff Benbrook reported the department's ladder truck has a leak. Benbrook indicated that although the truck is still functioning properly, every time the ladder extends it stretches the seal more. He noted if the seal were to break, the truck would be inoperable. He also added that if the seal breaks, it should not cause anyone harm, as it would just release all of the water it contains.

Benbrook indicated had been in contact with a company in South Carolina who would be able to repair the leak. However, the company did not provide a solid estimate, only stated it would most likely be between $20,000 and $21,000.

The council members discussed what course of action to take at length, noting they must be cautious to use large amounts of money. Benbrook added that he and former chief, and city employee, Brian Haley have been in contact with Arkansas Forestry Commission about the possibility of a no-interest three-year loan of $15,000. However, they were unsure if the loan would pan out or not.

In response, the council ultimately decided to go forward with the repair. Council members agreed they were not prepared to take the risk of the seal breaking and another ladder truck being over 20 to 30 minutes away, resulting in the loss of a building or home.

Also during the discussions it was noted the city had been collecting taxes that were placed in a restricted fund called the Fireman's Pension Fund. However, the city does not use it anymore, and it was unclear why it was still on the books.

After talking with the tax collector and doing more research, it was still unclear why this fund was still on the books, as it was not being used for the original purpose. The council members noted in the 1970s it was set aside to fund pension, and had been overlooked and therefore kept on the books. Members then unanimously agreed to remove the restriction placed on the money and place it in general funds, allowing them to allocate the money where needed.

Furthermore, the council unanimously approved property clean up liens for the purpose of obtaining monies owed.

The council unanimously approved an ordinance to do business with council member Tracy Cole as she also owns The Inn at Piggott and City Market. They approved the first reading of the entire ordinance, the second reading of the title only and the third reading of the title only.

Also, the council unanimously approved the minutes of their previous meeting and financial reports. They also briefly discussed mowing bids, but did not make a decision as information is still being gathered.

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