Rural water project: BV council approves bids to add water lines
The Berryville City Council voted at its Tuesday meeting to approve bids for the rural water project.
Mayor Tim McKinney said the low bidders were Red Rock Construction of Jasper at $2,887,677 for section one, L.E. Davis Construction of Harrison at $4,409,195 for section two and Barrows Construction and Barrows Excavation of Berryville at $254,920 for section three.
“That’s the recommendation from the engineers of the bids we should accept,” McKinney said. “Once we accept these bids, we will get the contracts and then get the notice to proceed.”
The rural water project will add approximately 41 miles of water line into the future growth area outside of Berryville, serving residents who previously relied on wells or other independent water sources.
McKinney said the bids were lower than they were previously because the city had to make some alternate deductions to the project. He said the alternate deductions were determined by the number of customers on a section of line.
He said the total cost of the project is $9,804,200. Of that amount, he said, $7,128,000 will be paid for by grants and $1,681,000 will be paid for through a loan resolution with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We did get another $566,000 from USDA after we got the bids,” McKinney said. “We made an application for more funds, which led us to get everything covered for the project.”
The council voted to approve the USDA Loan Resolution by title only. City administrative assistant Jay Lee said the wording was the same as the loan resolution the council approved in May 2017. The council needed to approve a new loan resolution with USDA to account for the additional funding received, Lee said.
Also at the meeting, the council held a public hearing to assess the needs of the city for a grant application to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Community and Economic Development Program.
McKinney said a local company had qualified for a grant through the program, and part of the process requires the council to hold a public hearing.
Jay Stallard, senior grants administrator for the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District (NWAEDD), said Nighthawk Custom has applied for a job retention project.
“Basically, what’s going on is a local manufacturing company has applied to the state for assistance to purchase some equipment,” Stallard said. “We don’t do a lot of these job retention projects. The company may or may not hire on people, but they’re definitely not going to lay anybody off.”
He continued, “They’re going to retain jobs. We’re talking about 51 full-time positions.”
As part of the public hearing, Stallard said the council needed to prioritize the needs for Berryville.
“The city decides what they want to prioritize,” he said. “It can be things like infrastructure, economic development, schools, medical, green spaces, parks, trails, you name it.”
McKinney said the city has been focusing on economic development.
“Our economic development director Chris Claybaker wasn’t able to be here tonight,” he said. “He opened our eyes to this process. In the future, I think our focus will be on economic development because that’s something for the whole city.”
In other business, the council voted to approve Resolution 1034, affirming the city of Berryville’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Policy. The council voted to approve Resolution 1035, designating administrative services for Berryville for the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program. The council voted to approve Resolution 1036, establishing a Civil Rights Enforcement Plan for Berryville for the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program.
The council voted to approve Resolution 1037, authorizing Berryville to submit an Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program grant application to the state of Arkansas. The council then voted to approve Resolution 1038, establishing an Anti-Displacement Plan for Berryville for the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program.
Stallard said the resolutions were to reaffirm federal laws already in existence.
Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos presented the police department’s monthly report for June. Last month, Bartos said, 121 citations were issued, 80 offenses were reported and eight accidents were reported. He said the department took in $1,960 in fines and bonds and had a clearance rate of 79 percent.
The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, at City Hall.