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Rogers accepts grant money; mayor updates city

by Alex Golden | March 10, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/JASON IVESTER Rogers City Hall; stock art photographed on Monday, April 11, 2016

ROGERS -- The Rogers Executive Airport will receive about $91,000 in federal grant money.

The City Council voted in January to accept the grant from the Federal Aviation Administration under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act. David Krutsch, airport manager, said at the time he hadn't been told exactly how much the grant would be. The council on Tuesday unanimously voted to amend its 2021 budget to recognize the grant.

The money is intended to offset money lost because of the pandemic and can be used for any lawful airport-related expenses, according to city documents. The city will not have to provide any matching money.

The council also voted to enter into a $336,400 contract with Carroll Electric Cooperative Corporation for utility work on Rainbow Road to Arkansas 112. The work includes lighting at roundabouts on Rainbow Road, said Lance Jobe, city engineer. Money from the nearly $300 million bond approved by voters in 2018 will pay for the work, according to city documents.

Council members on Tuesday amended the 2021 budget to include grant money it already accepted, including a $157,829 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to pay salaries and benefits for three new firefighters. The total grant is for $600,000 over the course of three years. The firefighters began the firefighting academy in January, Fire Chief Tom Jenkins said.

Mayor Greg Hines also gave his annual state of the city address in a recorded video before Tuesday's meeting where he updated residents on several projects the city has worked on during the past year, such as the Railyard Park downtown. Hines said the covid-19 pandemic had caused "unprecedented trauma in our personal and professional lives" and took a moment for silent prayer for those who have died of the virus.

The city made $20.5 million in 2020 from the 1-cent sales tax. It budgeted to receive $19.9 million. While the 2020 sales tax is a 1.6% increase from the year before, Rogers typically sees about 5% increases each year, Hines said.

"While 2021 is looking positive in the battle against covid-19, we're not out of the woods yet. We must as a people abide by public health orders. Wear a mask, wash your hands and socially distance," he said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday anyone in the state's Phase 1-B is now eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccination. The phase allows city employees, mayors and City Council members to receive vaccines. Hines said the city is working with Mercy Health System, Northwest Health System and Collier Drug to facilitate vaccinations for employees.

The city is also coordinating with Beaver Water District to help get its staff vaccinated, he said. Beaver Water District is a water utility company serving much of Northwest Arkansas. Water and wastewater employees are also eligible for covid-19 vaccines as part of Phase 1-B.

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Other action

The Rogers City Council on Tuesday voted to:

Rezone about 4.4 acres at 2038 S. Old Wire Road from agricultural to residential duplex, which would allow housing to be built there, at the request of Reina Sosa.

Rezone about 19 acres at 701 W. Hudson Road from highway commercial and residential duplex to only highway commercial at the request of Jeanne Hickman.

Change the name of West Capitol Avenue to Founders Way.

Source: Rogers

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