Street Committee Meeting March 12, 2019 – 12:30 p.m.
The meeting was called to order at 12:30 p.m.
Present were Arnold Knox, Director of Streets; Jim Bodenhamer and Jim Whalen, Committee members.
The meeting began with discussion continued from the February Street Committee meeting, referencing the street sign situation at Big Creek. It was agreed by the Committee and by Arnie to keep the street signs for Big Creek being purchased by Big Creek and the Street Department will install them. Arnie’s greatest concern was, as new subdivisions come into the City, there would be a possibility they would want their own design and have a cost share as well and that was something the Committee did not agree to have. It was agreed that no, the City would not be a part of a cost share of street signs for Big Creek.
Arnie also updated the Committee about the grant for the bike trail at McCabe Park. He said construction will start by moving the fence line sometime this month, and some trees will be cleared out on that hillside. He added the actual trail construction will begin this summer. Cost estimates and funding sources for the extension of the trail connecting to ASU will be starting soon. Jim B. asked Arnie if he had a completion estimate date for the bike and walking trails. Arnie said it would be this year sometime; it should only be about a two month construction project. Jim B. also asked how long the trails are and Arnie said he believes the walking part is either ¾ of a mile or one full mile. It will connect the planned parking lot on the west side to the parking lot at the ponds. The grant will cover all but 20% the City is responsible for. Arnie said the bike trail will be going up the hillside on the other side of the creek. Jim Whalen asked Arnie when ASU was going to be starting their portion of a trail and Arnie didn’t expect anything before 2020.
Arnie reported to the Committee, at the request of the Mayor the vehicle colors will now be all white, also uniforms for the employees were reviewed and new shirts have been chosen to replace the current shirts. This is still under review with Arnie and the Committee. He told the Committee it will increase the uniform line item by approximately $6,000 to $8,000.
Arnie reported the sweeper truck he ordered will be coming in soon, the bucket truck purchase from North Arkansas Electric will be received soon. He said used, it has a value of approximately $60,000 and the Street Department is purchasing it for $50,000. He said the boom will go up about 40’ and will allow the department to maintain lights and will be a lot safer for the employees.
There was discussion about the continuing state inmate program and the inmates that work for the Street Department. Arnie told the Committee there are three inmates.
The Street Report for February 2019 was reviewed. Arnie told the Committee the Arena Drive project is almost complete. All of the concrete work is finished and the crew is now working on reinstalling the fence along the fairgrounds and landscaping. He said the new asphalt should be ready to lay the week of the 25th, and the cost to this project as of February 28, 2019 is $206,186.38. Jim W. told Arnie he received compliments on the work being done at Arena. The crew working on the rebuild project at Ohio, Iowa and Kerr Streets in Northern Hills, is now working on putting in sidewalks and the Maintenance crew is currently digging out Ohio Street and getting it ready for asphalt. The current cost to this project as of February 28th is $191,463.27. Arnie said this project should be ready for asphalt in the next couple of weeks.
Engineering, surveying and designing has been started for the Bike Path at McCabe Park. This is the project discussed earlier that the City had received an $80,XXX grant. Currently, there is just $256.22 spent on this project.
The Keller Park parking lot extension has been completed as of March 8, 2019. The parking lot has been doubled to keep cars from parking on Rossi Road. Trees were cleared, placed 4 inch rock and topped that off with asphalt millings. The total cost for the Maintenance crew to add on to the existing parking lot totaled $46,858.05.
Maintenance for the month of February was at $13,334.37 which is a little low, as the Maintenance crew was working on other projects, including the Keller parking lot.
Jim B. mentioned to Arnie he saw a crew working on the drainage at Dellwood Lane. He asked if this was a general maintenance project and Arnie said it was. The culvert being installed should alleviate a lot of the continuous wet areas over there.
Arnie reported the Budget was good and there are no big surprises yet. He said the Postage line item was getting up in cost due to the cost of sending the traffic counters in for repairs. Arnie told the Committee by the next meeting he will have pictures of the bucket truck he is purchasing, and he is hoping to have the new sweeper truck by then also. Jim W. questioned the Street Department’s Administrative Fees line item and Arnie explained the Street Department is charged 18% of the General Fund’s actual monthly costs. There was a short discussion on the charges. Jim B. asked when the new pickups would be in and Arnie said the three new pickup trucks that were ordered should be delivered in April.
Future projects will be started soon, with the Arena Drive crew going to East 1st Street to rebuild a retaining wall at the bridge. Arnie said one wall was replaced last August, and after the Department of Transportation conducted their annual bridge inspection, they requested the other retaining wall be replaced as well. They will then go to Dodd Street the start a complete rebuild of that street. Dodd will be rebuilt from South Main Street at Guy Berry School to Highway 62. This street will have an extended sidewalk to accommodate bicycle traffic. Another project that will begin is on South College Street across from the library at Arkansas State University. The South College Street drainage ends at this location and all of the water runoff from South College Street ends up at this field and is causing maintenance issues for the college. Large rocks, dirt, leaves and trash are washing down and it makes mowing difficult. At the time the highway department was reconstructing the South College, Amon had brought this concern up and requested a change order. It was decided to make the repair after completion because the cost would be cheaper to the City, rather than have the contractor include it in their construction. Arnie said 48 inch pipe will be installed from the driveway of the library to Skeet Street, and this should get all drainage to the creek without any more issues. The crew working at the Ohio Avenue project will be finishing up sometime this summer and will be heading over to Western Hills Way to start a new rebuild project there. This project will have an extended sidewalk to accommodate bicycle traffic as well as Dodd Street.
Sealed bids for materials will be opened April 11th and Arnie said he plans on putting a bid out for a new roller sometime next month. There was discussion about the new gas tax situation. Jim asked Arnie how the speed limit was decided on the streets. Arnie said, by ordinance, every City street unless posted, is 25 m.p.h., and when we get complaints of excess speeding, callers are referred to the Police Department for enforcement.
Jim Whalen announced to the Committee that Arnie was recognized for being an “outstanding public official” at the meeting of the Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers. There was discussion of Hicks Creek being cited as 303D, “a creek in trouble” by ADEQ and Arnie is being very proactive in trying to clean it up.