Prior to the meeting being called to order, Arnie showed the Committee a picture of a new dump truck that had been purchased in December. He also updated the Committee on the lack of personnel and showed them a list of the past 5 years, a number of employees that had either left for a higher rate of pay, transferred to another department, or had been terminated. He said this number was basically 2/3 of his entire staff. Jennifer asked him how many people he was short. He said a full staff for the Street Department is 30 employees, and right now he is at 23. There are two that are waiting to start but need their drug screening/pre-employment physicals completed, and two from AID that should be starting in the next two weeks.
The meeting was called to order at 12:50 p.m.
Present were Arnold Knox, Director of Streets; Jim Bodenhamer, Jennifer Baker and Susan Stockton, Committee Members. Greg Ifland, the City Building Inspector was also in attendance.
Arnie showed the Committee the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Traffic Division website and discussed Mountain Home's traffic light cameras, monitors, and cabinets. He showed the Committee how to navigate their website to see the traffic and traffic counts throughout the City and the State of Arkansas. There was lengthy discussion pertaining to the traffic light system including their timing throughout the City of Mountain Home. Jennifer asked how he sets the timing on the lights. He said the timing for all the lights are programmed by the highway department, and he added, he is going to write a letter to the highway department concerning the timing of the light at 5 North and 1st Street. The traffic has become so stacked up at that light, because of the new Casey's General Store which has extra traffic coming off of 1st Street. This traffic is also being affected at the intersection of Highway 62 and 5 North and he feels the timing needs to be reprogrammed. He added, at the traffic signal at Highway 62 and Club Boulevard at the Elks Club does not have a left turn signal. Arnie said he has gone off to contract with an engineer in Little Rock to design a cabinet to have a left turn signal, and is waiting to hear back a cost estimate, which he expects it to be approximately $300,000 to redo that cabinet and put in a left turn signal. Jennifer asked who pays for that, and Arnie said the City will be responsible for the total cost. He added, traffic at that intersection does not allow a left turn on just the green signal, there needs to be a protected left turn there. He reported, he has gone off to the highway department to study that intersection and they have completed the traffic counts and with 20,000 cars, it does warrant a left turn there. Now we will try to find an engineer and get a price on it. He told the Committee, this signal is one of the first ones installed. It was originally in the county. Both the City and highway department don't have plans on it, and Arnie said he believes, it was around 1979 when it was put in. Jennifer said being on the state highway, you'd think we could request they pay for it. Arnie said, no, it is maintenance, and the City pays for maintenance. This left turn light is considered maintenance to the light. Jennifer added, if a new light goes in, maybe they would then pay for it? And Arnie said no, we pay for the new ones too. It would be a shared cost and then when it is installed, the state will turn the light over to us. It is an 80/20 cost on new signals. Arnie reported to the Committee he has six more traffic monitor boxes ordered for the rest of the signals in the City. Once the are all installed, he said he is going to be working with the fire department and the hospital, as to what they have as far as preemptive status. He said he didn't know if they type in a location where they would be going, and then once they do that, it will monitor where the emergency vehicles are and stop traffic at the intersections so those vehicles can pass through safely. Jim asked which panels he was talking about. Arnie said it was installing monitoring boxes. He said he has 18 installed at this time, and he is focusing on the main route through the City, and of course on the bypass. At this time, he needs monitors at College and Highway 5 South, Cardinal Drive and Highway 5 South, 1st and College, and the three signals on Highway 201 North, which are North Street, Coley Drive and Arkansas Avenue. He said after this order is in, there will be one in every traffic signal box. Arnie said there is a total of 23 lights and the one that seems to be forgotten is not on a state highway and that is the signal at 1st and College. That is the City's, and the state has nothing to do with it. Having these monitors are a benefit because he will be getting about a 4 hour jump on them, instead of relying on the police department to notify him of an issue. He told them to go to idrivearkansas.com and then maneuvered them throughout the site to watch the traffic cameras at work. He brought the highway department's website that showed the intersection at Highway 62 and Club Boulevard. He said this is not a recorded video, but a 20 second delay live stream of the traffic.
The Street Report for February 2021 was reviewed.
Arnie reported the current cost to date of the Medical Plaza rebuild was at $216,216.67. All the drainage in on this project, and the crew is currently pouring curb, working their way to Hospital Drive. This project should be done in the next couple of months, and they'll dig it out and wait for asphalt like the rest of the projects.
Jennifer asked what the latest was on hot mix and Arnie explained to the Committee he a contract drawn up, it's about 30 pages, to cover all of the asphalt for Market, Gentry and Medical Plaza. It is sitting down at Roger's office for review at this time. He said his goal is to put it out for bid at the end of March and collect the bids about mid to late April, and they will have 60 days to put the asphalt down. He said we've piled up enough overlays and we need those guaranteed to get the asphalt down.
The cost of the Market/Thorn rebuild project is at $221,657.99. That crew has completed Market Street and with drainage completed at Thorn Street, the crew is working on pouring curb.
Fill is continuing to be hauled in and leveled at the location of the new fire department. Arnie reported it was filling in quicker than anticipated, with trucks from Dilbeck and Atlas hauling fill to the site. The cost to date is $27,006.80.
Maintenance is at $16,779.96 for the month of February with weed trimming and crack sealing.
Snow Removal ended up with a total cost of $39,196.32 last month.
The Budget Summary was reviewed, Arnie said it was in good shape and added, a tandem axle truck has been ordered, which will not be delivered until September or October.
The Committee discussed the rewritten Development Permit that will be reviewed by the Council at their Thursday night meeting.