Present were Arnold Knox, Street Director; Don Webb, Jim Bodenhamer and Jim Whalen, Committee members, and Mayor Adams.
The Street Report for January 2020 was reviewed.
Arnie reported the crew working on the Burnett Drive rebuild has finished hammering the rock and all drainage culvert has been installed. The total to date at Burnett Drive is $83,272.25. They are working currently on the retaining wall at hospice. He told the Committee this project will come to a halt more than likely at Bucher Drive, and the crew will move over to Medical Plaza to start a complete rebuild. He added, he is trying to work with the hospital on getting some drainage down to Buttercup. It has to be sent down Medical Plaza, and it will take some large pipe going down the street, so he said, we will just go ahead and rebuild Medical Plaza. Jim Whalen asked where the pond will be. Arnie told the Committee there is an open pond along the creek bottom, at the lower end of Buttercup Drive. The City has agreed to help the hospital get their water drainage there. He added, the hospital has been there so long, that they are sort of grandfathered in their situation, but they are willing to help out their retention system, which is non-existent at this time. So, we are willing to also help them. When Medical Plaza is completed, that crew will go back to Burnett Drive to complete that project, wrapping up at the old Kerr Clinic and the back of the hospital. He added, when completed, Burnett Drive will be three lanes all the way to Beard Drive. That will give the entire hospital campus three lanes all the way around it, which will help traffic flow around that entire area.
The other concrete crew was to move from Western Hills Way over to Gentry Street according to the rebuild list distributed to the Committee, to rebuild a lot of the streets in that area behind the old Walmart, now Hobby Lobby building. They got pulled off whenever Billy D. received the concrete grant for Clysta Willett Park. He said his crew is doing all of the concrete there. At this time, Arnie said, this project is at $33,193.87 which will be reimbursed to the Street Department by the General Fund. He said, in the end, all the street dollars won't be coming out of the Street Department. He said it will be cheaper for the City and with this Grant, it's a "spend a dollar, get two dollars" kind of deal. Don asked if there were any plans to put brick on the inside of the wall. Arnie said they are going to have a pad on one side of the wall, the field side. He said he has gotten with Watkins for a price on a shallow rock face, it's fake rock, he said, and it will look like laid stone and grouted. Arnie said he could ask for a price on brick also, and added Watkins was going to wrap the back wall with wire and put the fake stone. It will only be about an inch thick but will look nice. Don added it looked good the way it is now. Arnie said the guys worked hard on finishing it. Arnie didn't suspect too much of a cost, probably one or two thousand dollars. The pad will go on the front and we are looking at putting a cap on the top and the back side. We'll see what the price is going to be and find out which way the Mayor wants to go. Don said it looks good out there.
The Maintenance crew totaled $49,431.34 for the month of January. A lot of this cost is the crack sealer being out in the cold months and down at the soccer field. Below the pond down there, there is a huge improvement with them hammering rock to get the water running out.
He added it's amazing how much has been done with it being flat out there, the grade has been changed and what water was sitting out there is a running water instead of it sitting there in the fields. Also, sign maintenance and trash pickup with community service workers.
Arnie reported the budget looks good and added there was about a 7% increase in the sales tax that came in for January. He said the only line items that had gone over budget was the annual Workman's Compensation Insurance payment; the annual insurance premium that covers vehicles and equipment, the gas boy and radios, which now is going through Municipal League. Arnie reported to the Committee that APERMA, the previous insurance carrier closed their business effective January 31, and the City had to find coverage for everything, including property and contents immediately. The premium increased a little but did go over the budgeted line item. Also, the annual Radio Tower Lease line item has gone over as well.
Arnie presented two bid waivers to the Committee for their approval to send to Council. The first one, to waive competitive bidding on three trucks he had budgeted for this year. Rather than go through the State Bid price on the Dodge ½ ton trucks, which is $29,000 per truck, he reported he had gotten a better price of $27,371 per truck from the Ultimate Dodge dealer. The bid waiver would be for 2 - ½ ton trucks and a one-ton heavy duty truck. Since the one-ton rebar trucks are older and have hundreds of thousands of miles on them, he would like to start cycling them out the next two years and get new one tons. He has gotten a price of $25,762, without a bed on it. After purchasing it, it will be sent to Searcy to get a bed and cabinets installed. They have been ordered and should be arriving anywhere from April to June this year. He asked the Committee for permission to send this waiver to Council for approval. Jim Bodenhamer moved to send the bid waiver to the City Council and Jim Whalen seconded the motion.
Arnie passed out some paperwork for the Committee showing them updates to the City's traffic signals. He said he has been trying to get the signals modernized, and he has budgeted $130,000 this year for updates. He told the Committee the second bid waiver is for the purchase of fifteen (15) monitoring units for traffic signal boxes. It will not complete every traffic signal, but it will total sixteen overall out of twenty-four traffic signals the City has. Besides notifying him of traffic signal issues like going into flash, or electricity issues, it also monitors the humidity and temperature inside the cabinet. Arnie also said it will also allow his computer to communicate with the traffic signal. He found out last week he does not have communication in between the traffic signals at all, the radios are dead, and he said he doesn't know how long that they've been dead. He added normally it's been the highway department that will log in and check the traffic signals, and they have not logged in for over a year and a half. Arnie told the Committee the two phone lines to the signals at 62 and 5 North, and at 62 and Club Blvd have been disconnected. Those two lights are the ones that had the fiber optic connected last year. He said by doing that, it will be a savings of $140 per month just by the phone lines being disconnected. If he is approved for the purchase of the 15 signal boxes, it will be a cost of approximately $70,000. When all the traffic signals are updated, he will be able to connect to each one through his computer to make any changes or updates. He told Fire Chief Ken Williams of his plans, and with transponders Ken will be able to monitor the cycle of traffic signals while traveling to any fire calls he may have. Arnie said Temple Incorporated out of Decatur, Alabama has been the only vendor that supply's the City with any traffic light equipment, maintenance and training, so he will be making the purchase through them. Jim Whalen moved to send the second bid waiver request to the Council for approval and Jim Bodenhamer seconded.
Arnie reported to the Committee he has installed a motor on the entrance gate at the shop along with a keypad. He said the retirement cash out for the department was discussed during budget talk. If he were to pay out the entire departments accumulated time, it would total approximately $226,000. But according to the employee handbook, there are some stipulations as to the amount to be received, so the total would be closer to $175,000.
A Case wheel loader has been ordered through the Sourcewell contract.
Arnie discussed with the Committee the vacant property adjacent to the Street Department. He said there is approximately 80 acres there and the current owner who lives in Tennessee, uses it for hunting purposes. he has figured the property at the department's current location will be filled to capacity of fill, within eight to ten years and he will be looking for additional property to take fill. Arnie said he purchased that property for approximately $150,000 and cleaned up the EPA issues the previous owners left behind, the former recycling business. Arnie said he is more interested in the back part of this property to keep filling in, not so much the highway frontage portion. He added, the property line goes back close to County Road 28. Arnie said if an offer of $350- to $400,000 was offered to him, he would probably sell it. He added, with property, the best time to buy is as soon as you can afford it because it keeps getting more expensive. He would like to raise his cash on hand in the bank to approximately $100- to $125,000 per year, is what he is looking at. Right now, he said, he has a carryover of about $1.4 million and would like to raise it to about a $1.8 million, and if he can get up to that amount, maybe making an offer for this property, with Council approval. Either way, he said, it's a couple of years down the road, he just wanted to get their opinion. He added, even purchasing the back portion of the property would work.
The Spring Street rebuild was briefly discussed along with the intersection of Spring and Highway 178. That intersection will be rebuilt with an additional lane along with small drive-over curb. This is another rebuild project scheduled for the future, probably a year to year and a half. The plans will be sent to the highway department at Little Rock, and it will be a three to four-month process for approval.