GRAVETTE -- Aaron Boehmler, a civil engineer with Sand Creek Engineering, addressed city council members at their committee of the whole meeting Thursday, Nov. 9. Boehmler was representing David Marrs, the developer on a project on Birmingham Street S.E., and requested permission to install a dead-end water main, with the option to install a loop at a later date. He said Marrs had received a bid of $80,000 for installation of the 986 feet of water main, which would be about 40 percent of the project. Council members agreed to the request. This will permit Marrs to do the work at considerable savings.
Joshua Strother, with the Northwest Arkansas Tobacco and Drug Free Coalition in Springdale, proposed passing an ordinance banning any type of tobacco in city parks. Snuff and all smoking, including e-cigarettes and combustible plant material, would be prohibited. He said a search his group had done revealed an unusually high number of cigarette butts in Kindley Park. Strother will provide sample ordinances for consideration, and a vote on the matter will be on the agenda for the Nov. 16 council meeting.
A public hearing was held during the meeting to consider rezoning five lots on Dallas Street S.W. in the Dugan and Leaf Subdivision, owned by Matt Elder. Elder is requesting to rezone the property from R-1, single family residential, to R-2, duplex. A present city ordinance shows the property has already been rezoned R-2, but this action is not reflected on the city zoning map. No one was present to speak against the rezoning but a couple of written objections have been received. A vote on the rezoning will be on the agenda for the Nov. 16 council meeting.
Chuck Skaggs, Gravette police chief, presented a letter proposing to sell one of the department's bulletproof vests to Jeremy Rhodes. The vest was purchased in 2016 for $790 and specifically made to fit Rhodes. Rhodes has offered to buy the vest for $600 for use in his new position at the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Council members agreed to sell the vest to Rhodes.
Skaggs also announced that Officer Bryan Smith has recently been promoted to corporal. Smith has been with the department five years and has been a canine handler the past 18 months. Skaggs praised the efforts of Smith and canine officer K-9 IKKS in reducing the amount of drug traffic in Gravette. Officer Smith and K-9 IKKS assisted the Highfill Police Department in locating a six-year-old child with disabilities Oct. 21. Smith and K-9 IKKS tracked the child into the woods and were able to locate him unharmed. Skaggs commented that it will be hard to find another dog of his caliber when IKKS reaches retirement. He announced that officers in his department are participating in No Shave November to raise money for the department's Shop with a Cop program.
Lonnie Mullen, Gravette fire chief, presented proposals to take three fire department vehicles out of service. These include two ambulances, and a fire truck that has not been used for some time. Mullen hopes to sell the three vehicles and use the proceeds to purchase another ambulance.
Tim Dewitt, the streets department supervisor, reported that his crew has begun putting up Christmas lights.
Karen Benson, the library supervisor, reported that Gravette library will be hosting a star party on Main Street Friday, Nov. 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. Members of the Sugar Creek Astronomical Society will bring telescopes to use for viewing the night sky.
In other business, council members changed the date of the December committee of the whole meeting to Thursday, Dec. 7, and the December council meeting to Tuesday, Dec. 12, both at 6 p.m.
Mike von Ree, the city clerk, reported on the status of the Presbyterian Church remodeling. He said the siding and belfry have been torn off. He has until March 2018 to submit the application for inclusion on the Historic Register, but the side porch must be torn off before it is considered since it is not original.
Aaron Boehmler, with Sand Creek Engineering, presented a proposal for providing sewer service for the Hiwasse area. Boehmler submitted a bid of $35,200 for producing a preliminary engineering report.
Council members discussed renovation of the Gravette civic center. Mayor Kurt Maddox noted one option is to completely tear out the interior and redo it. Another is to leave the interior basically the same and do only cosmetic changes such as repainting and installing new flooring.
Council members reviewed the proposed contract presented by Decatur mayor Bob Tharp, outlining terms and conditions for providing emergency medical services to the city of Decatur. Lonnie Mullen, fire chief, said Gravette has made 131 calls to Decatur this year and it costs about $120,000 to maintain service to Decatur. Council member Richard Carver recommended renewing the contract for two years. A vote on renewing the contract will be on the agenda for the Nov. 16 council meeting.
Carl Rabey, the financial director, presented the finance report, including updated spreadsheets on the bond financial account.
Mayor Maddox reported that a few changes in personnel are being considered for 2018. He is considering eliminating the two part-time library positions and making them full-time. He also hopes to add a new employee in the street department to work in the new parks, help with maintaining Hiwasse streets and run the skid steer. He is also anticipating increased pool use following the pool improvements and is budgeting for more pool employees.
Maddox reported the city is bringing in significant revenue on licenses and building permits and therefore needs to budget for a code enforcement officer. Another eight houses have been proposed in the last two weeks and construction of another 12 is planned on Ridge Road soon. Voluntary annexation of property on Ridge Road, including the former Lonnie Ash property, will be voted on at the Nov. 16 city council meeting.Community on 11/15/2017
Print Headline: Gravette council committee hears number of proposals