GRAVETTE -- The City Council convened a special council meeting during the Committee of the Whole meeting Feb. 13.
During the special meeting, the council approved the final plat for Stone Crest Subdivision. The subdivision on about 7 acres on Dallas Street S.W. and is owned by Lykins Leasing.
Corey Reardon, Water and Sewer Department manager, said he drafted a letter to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality regarding the city's noncompliance with requirements at the sewer plant. He hoped ADEQ will work with the city since they're currently in a lawsuit against contractors who did unsatisfactory work at the plant. The retention pond was leaking and continued to leak after repairs were done.
Reardon suggested making a plan to set aside money in an account to establish a reserve for repairs and correcting problems as they come up. He said he has work he needs to do on Dallas Street S.W. and he would like to replace some older water lines but he has no money to do so.
Council member Ron Theis asked Reardon to prepare a report with a record of past projects, when they were done and projections of what work still needs to be done.
Bill Hayford spoke to the council during the committee meeting about the parking situation at his home on Lion Drive. He was warned against parking on the street by police, but he said his driveway is quite steep and there isn't room to park the truck he drives.
Police Chief Chuck Skaggs said parking on the street presents safety issues since it makes it difficult for fire trucks and emergency vehicles to pass. Hayford asked if there could be some consideration given to special circumstances such as his and Mayor Kurt Maddox said any change would require an ordinance and perhaps the addition of new signs on a portion of the street.
Council members briefly discussed a cell tower ordinance on the Feb. 27 meeting agenda.
Council members considered a $1,500 offer from Campfire Investments to buy city land adjacent to the railroad tracks in southwest Gravette. The council also discussed a proposal to set fees for Fire Department services not covered in an original ordinance.
Maddox gave a short financial report, saying finance director Carl Rabey stayed overnight in Little Rock to attend a continuing education class and wasn't able to be at the meeting. He reported a $30,000 shortfall in January due to high expenses from several dues and subscriptions paid during the month, as well as workers' compensation and a third payroll paid out.
Fire Chief David Orr said his department has responded to 71 calls this year and department personnel participated in over 1,100 hours of training in January. They did a couple of house burnings, including a house at Hillcrest Cemetery.
Skaggs said there have been 334 calls in 2020 and he hired a new sergeant to replace Sgt. Chris Kelley and is interviewing another officer so the department will soon be fully staffed again.
Tim Dewitt, streets, parks and cemetery supervisor, said his crew has been doing ditch work all over town, clearing debris from the ends of culverts. He said city representatives attended the Arkansas Municipal League Conference earlier that day in Little Rock where Gravette was presented a Trendsetter City award in the wellness category.
Karen Benson, library manager, said she's been asked to speak at the National Public Library Conference in Nashville and said the annual library gala has been planned for April 18. She thanked Maddox, Skaggs and Orr for coming to read to children during the library's community helpers series.
Building inspector David Keck said tennis and basketball courts at Hiwasse Park have been framed and they are ready to pour concrete. He also said construction on the Casey's General Store and Bank of Gravette are both progressing well and he has been working to facilitate traffic flow through the construction zones.
NW News on 02/23/2020