Gravette council authorizes issuing second capital improvement bond
GRAVETTE — Members of the Gravette city council, at their regular meeting Thursday, Sept. 27, passed an ordinance authorizing the issuance of a sales and use tax bond for the purpose of financing the cost of capital improvements and pledging collections of a .75 percent sales and use tax to pay the principal and interest of the bond. The ordinance states that the city is accepting the offer from Farmers Bank and Trust Company in Magnolia to purchase the bond at a price of $1,045,159.05.
Ryan Bowman, representative of bond counsel Friday, Eldridge and Clark, and Bob Wright, of Crews and Associates, were present at the meeting to explain the bond issue and answer any questions posed by council members.
Proceeds of the Series 2018 Bond will be allocated, with $195,000 going for street improvements, $410,000 for parks and recreational improvements, $70,000 for sewer improvements and $390,000 for sidewalk improvements. Council member Melissa Burnett asked about specific projects to be financed by the bonds, and mayor Kurt Maddox replied that more streets are to be paved, including North Mt. Pleasant, more work is to be done at Hiwasse and more work, including lighting, is to be done at Pop Allum Park.
In other business at the meeting, council members passed an ordinance to split a tract of land owned by Kenneth and Nellie Duncan at 18240 Ridge Road, passed a resolution setting the 2019 property tax levy at 4.75 mills on each dollar of assessed value and the 2019 personal property tax levy at 4.75 mills on each dollar of assessed value and passed a resolution approving lineitem adjustments moving $30,120 from the capital improvement general fund to the police department fund to purchase an additional vehicle for the police department to replace an older Charger now in use and moving $17,000 from the breathing apparatus fund to the street department fund to help fund the purchase of a new vehicle for the street department.
Mayor Maddox reported that bids have been received for cleaning the lagoons at the sewer plant but all are much higher than expected, so engineers recommend waiting and combining bids with further sewer work in hopes of a cost savings. City attorney David Bailey recommended hiring an outside attorney for litigation on unsatisfactory work done on the lagoons as he does not have enough specialized knowledge on the subject. Maddox reported that three parties — the contractor, the manufacturer of the product and the engineer — are all blaming someone else for the unsatisfactory work.
Mayor Maddox said bids had been opened earlier that day for work on the old home economics building. Three bids were received in the amounts of $200,000, $254,000 and $289,000. Museum commissioner John Mitchael was present at the meeting and recommended accepting the low bid of $200,000 from D.C. Sparks. The museum commission has received a $75,000 grant and a $50,000 donation from Care and Share for the renovation of the building. Maddox recommended that, since the museum commission has used so much of its funds towards the project, rental fees from the renovated building go to the commission for the first three years after completion.
Patrick Hall was present at the meeting and spoke to the council during the citizen comment period prior to the meeting. He asked if there was a particular process for deciding how the 2018 bond money was to be spent. He congratulated council members on the accomplishments completed with the first round of bond money but urged them to continue to seek public input for the selection of projects and suggested delaying the vote on the bond issue until a well-publicized public hearing could be held and the planned expenditures could be reviewed by the planning commission.
Dale Ayres, mayoral candidate, also spoke to the council, urging prudence and asking it to exercise caution in spending city money and going further into debt.
Mayor Maddox replied that prudence was used in a series of well-publicized hearings in 2015. The hearings were well attended, citizen input was received and voters handily approved the bond issue in the March 1, 2016, special election.