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Council closes business for the year

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The consent program that the Hot Springs Board of Directors adopted at its Dec. 20 business meeting included an agreement with an area nonprofit to administer the rental and utility assistance program. city ​​audiences.

The resolution authorizing the United Way of the Ouachitas agreement calls for the nonprofit to administer $213,042 in federal pandemic assistance. The city qualified for the silver by being one of more than 1,200 eligible cities recognized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The money is part of $572,669 in pandemic-related community development block grants the city received in 2020. It had been earmarked for the homeless resource center the city has been talking about building, but the council reallocated the funds to rent and utilities. help earlier this year.

The city has been unable to find an operator for the 35-bed resource center it is proposing, making it unlikely that the funds can be used for this purpose before the year’s spending deadline. next. City manager Bill Burrough told the board in August that no nonprofits in the area wanted to operate the center.

The city said HUD requires that 80% of CDBG-pandemic funds be expended by Nov. 2 of next year.

“It’s hard for me to come to the board and want to spend $4.5 million to build a facility without having an operator in mind,” he said. “It’s a community problem. We can’t solve this problem without others stepping in to be part of it.”

Deputy city manager Lance Spicer told council at its December 13 agenda meeting that the city had received no response to the request for proposals it issued in October. United Way of the Ouachitas submitted the only response to the subsequent RFP the city leased for rent and utility assistance in November.

The non-profit organization will receive $31,956 to administer the program, an amount equal to 15% of the relief funds. Assistance payments will be made directly to landlords and utility companies to avoid eviction or loss of utility services. Ouachita Behavioral Health and Wellness oversaw a similar program for the city in 2021.

hope works

The council renewed the city’s memorandum of understanding with Hope Works Jobs Experience, the anti-poverty initiative the city runs with Jackson House.

The public-private partnership pays the homeless and indigent to remove litter from state-maintained roads. The $100,000 from the 2023 municipal budget for solid waste allocated to the program will be used to pay workers $11 per hour and supervisors $13.13 per hour. According to the memorandum of understanding, supervisors work six hours per working day. The program runs four days a week.

Solid Waste Manager Mike Mundell told the council that 19 tons of trash had been collected since the program began in 2020. But the city said the program does more than provide a paycheck and remove trash. It connects homeless and indigent people to medical and mental health services and the job and life skills training the city has declared essential to breaking the cycle of poverty.

Waterline improvements

The council awarded Coakley Co. Inc. a $1,027,679 contract for the city’s watermain improvement projects in 2022.

Major Capital Projects Manager Todd Piller told the board that Coakley would rework the valves in the Central Avenue and Vineyard Street area. They will also upgrade watermains and add hydrants and valves at Kimery Park and along Nevada, East St. Louis, Laser, Levin and Twin Points roads.

“At Twin Points we will connect the two entrances to Forest Lakes,” Piller said. “It will loop those water lines together in there. Plus, we’re also going to connect this new big subdivision, The Hamilton, to that line.”

Burrough said funds have been budgeted for improvement projects in 2022, but the work will not be completed until next year. The money will be reallocated to the 2023 budget.

“It’s the one that we had actually put off before coming to the board, waiting to see what would happen with our capital projects that we have going on,” he said. “We are confident that we will have this money to use for this project. We have a (certificate of availability) from our financial director.”

He said the 2023 watermain improvement projects are ready for auction, but the contract will not go to council for approval until the end of next year.

Coakley’s bid was the lowest of four received by the city, according to council’s action request.

Airport

The board changed the fuel pricing policy for Hot Springs Memorial Field, giving the airport more flexibility in setting prices.

The amendment increases the airport’s minimum profit on retail sales of Jet-A and AVGAS fuel from 50 cents per gallon to $1 and the maximum profit from $2 to $2.50.

The city does not mark up contracted fuel sales, but charges handling fees per gallon. The amendment adopted by the Board sets a new scale of management fees. The more fuel a customer purchases under contract, the lower the charge.

Charges for 1-50 gallons will be $2. The previous schedule charged $1.75 for 1-99 gallons. The charge for 51 to 100 gallons will be $1.85, whereas the previous schedule charged $1.50 for 100 to 299 gallons.

Charges for 101-150 gallons will be $1.75 and charges for 151-300 gallons will be $1.60. The previous scale charged $1.50 for 100 to 299 gallons. The city said nearly three-quarters of fuel sales are 300 gallons or less.

The new scale charges $1.40 for 501 to 99,999 gallons. The previous schedule charged $1 for 1,501 gallons or more.

The city said fuel sales account for more than 70% of airport revenue. A 30 cent discount off the retail fare is available for aircraft based at the airport. Volume discounts are also available on retail fuel.

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