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Highfill authorizes remote attendance at meetings

City discusses expanding sewer system in areas of development by Randy Moll | July 21, 2021 at 5:28 a.m.

HIGHFILL -- The city council in Highfill, at its July 13 meeting, authorized remote attendance at council meetings, adopted a new zoning map and rezoned certain lands.

The council passed an ordinance on three readings with a single vote to allow council members to attend meetings virtually via telephone, video or live connection with all the rights of members attending in person as long as provision is made for the public to hear the remote attendees in accord with the Freedom of Information Act. The ordinance states that in-person attendance is preferred but allows for remote attendance and voting when council members are unable to attend in person.

Also passed were resolutions moving $2,348 from the Highfill Water Revenue Fund to the Fire Equipment Fund, adding the Juneteenth holiday to the personnel handbook, opening a separate bank account for coronavirus state and local fiscal recovery funds through the CARES Act (Mayor Michelle Rieff expected to receive $125,000 this month), and amending the city's budget resolution due to needed mid-year adjustments.

Ordinances were passed on three readings changing the zoning of properties belonging to Faith, Hope and Grace Properties along Mason Valley Road from rural residential to planned unit development for single-family homes, with an emergency clause, and for Filiberto and Noe Avila along Highway 264 from rural residential to C-2 commercial.

Also passed by ordinance on three readings with a single vote was the adoption of a new zoning map which rectified the city's zoning map with all the city's ordinances and brought the city's zoning map up to date (excluding changes made at the July 13 meeting).

Charles Lindley, the new water and sewer supervisor, taking over the water and sewer system for Highfill on Aug. 9, is currently being assisted and receiving some training by Centerton's water and sewer department.

The police department received 25 bids for the Chevy Tahoe, with the highest bid being $8,500. Blake Webb said the bid winner would be coming to pick up the vehicle as early as July 14. He asked that the money be deposited in the police department savings account.

Webb said a party is interested in donating a K-9 to the department. He said the department would have to pay to train the officer, but he has equipment donations lined up. The dog is a 2-year-old female already trained in tracking and search and rescue. The dog will not be a bite dog but trained in narcotics detection, tracking and search and rescue.

Chad Bossy addressed the council with questions about grading the city's roads. The city has been receiving bids for grading services and Ground Zero Construction offered to grade the city's roads for $550 per lineal mile for initial grading and $440 for maintenance grading if graded at least twice per year. It was estimated the city has approximately 34 miles of gravel roads.

Bossy also suggested trading in the grapple truck and a mower the city is not currently using to help purchase a needed trailer. Councilmember Chris Holland asked that a list of unused equipment be brought to the council next month.

Cassie Elliott addressed the council regarding expanding the city's sewer system to accommodate all the development in the city. She suggested expanding the sewer system in areas where development is occurring.

According to Elliott, Tim Mays said a couple of developments might pay for needed upgrades. He said ANRC might be a good source for a loan to move forward and then pass on costs to developers.

Frank Holzkamper suggested getting a USDA loan since it also provides protection from takeover attempts by other cities, such as the court battle Centerton had with Gravette.

Holland suggested a meeting with the water board and developers to come up with suggestions and a plan to expand the city's water and sewer system.

Mayor Rieff asked for direction from the council as to what it wishes to do to make development possible and where it wishes to allow major growth.

Minutes of the special meeting on June 23 were not approved due to questions about whether some items were actually discussed in the meeting.

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