BV council approves 3.5 percent increase for wastewater contract

Friday, January 18, 2019

By Kelby Newcomb

The Berryville City Council voted Tuesday to approve a 3.5 percent increase in its contract with Jacobs Inc. for wastewater treatment plant management services.

Mayo Miller, project manager with Jacobs Inc., said the default in the city’s contract called for a 3.2 increase, which would be about $23,948.54, but Jacobs Inc. recommended a 3.5 percent increase, which would be about $26,193.72, to cover the expense of three items: promotions given to employees who earned their Class III Wastewater Operator License, landfill costs that went over budget last year and electrical costs that went over budget last year.

Miller said labor is the biggest portion of the increase.

Alderwoman Linda Riddlesperger asked if Jacobs Inc. anticipates any salary adjustments next year for employees who earn new licenses.

“They have already received them. That’s part of the reason we’re at 3.5 percent,” Miller said. “There may be one, but for the most part they all have their Class III license, which is a pretty good accomplishment.”

The council voted to approve the contract amendment for 2019.

The council also voted to approve Ordinance 1045, which would rezone a parcel of real property at 803 High St. from R-1 Single-Family Residential to R-2 Two-Family Residential, on its second reading by title only. The council will vote on the ordinance for its third and final reading next month.

Berryville Police Chief Robert Bartos presented the police department’s monthly report for July. Last month, Bartos said, 105 citations were issued, 57 offenses were reported, five warrants were served, 18 fingerprints were done and two VIN verifications were done. He said 17 accidents were reported, and the department took in $1,065 in fines and bonds. The department had a clearance rate of 75 percent, Bartos said.

He also presented the annual police report, saying the department issued 1,126 citations, reported 849 offenses, reported 169 accidents, served 76 warrants, did 86 VIN verifications, did 177 fingerprints and collected $37,500 in fines and bonds in 2018. The department had a clearance rate of 82 percent for the year, Bartos said.

Mayor Tim McKinney gave the state of the city address for 2018-19. In 2018, he said Berryville began projects in its water, parks and street departments totaling more than $13 million. The best part, he said, is that the only new debt the city has incurred is a $1.6 million loan from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which will be paid by the revenue generated from the completed projects. He said the remaining project funds will be covered by over $8.5 million of grants funds, sales tax bond money and the existing reserve city funds.

He said the city also saw the opening of the new Connect 4 Career Training Center, which was a collaborative effort between the city and the Berryville, Green Forest and Eureka Springs schools districts. The facility was established in the old Arkansas National Guard Armory building, he said, allowing the city to repurpose the facility and continue its legacy serving the citizens of Carroll County.

“The opening of this facility led to Berryville being awarded the Arkansas Business magazine’s Trendsetter City of the Year award,” McKinney said, “for education and workforce development. Opening this new school was truly a community effort as the city of Berryville, our local schools, local industry and many others laid all personal agendas aside to accomplish something for the greater good for all of us.”

The city began doing more of its public works jobs in-house for 2018, he said, rather than outsourcing them as in the past.

“Our first pilot projects were the site prep work on the Freeman Avenue Soccer Complex,” McKinney said, “and the Freeman Avenue Extension Project. We feel like we have saved well over $100,000 this past year by leasing the necessary equipment to complete these jobs in-house and hope to do more in the future.”

For 2019, he said the city hopes to complete the sidewalk rehabilitation on the Public Square and will be working on preventative maintenance and painting the million-gallon water storage tank on Saunders Heights as soon as weather allows.

The parks department underwent a small reorganization in 2018, McKinney said, with the hopes of making it more efficient.

“Director Joe Scott has done a good job for years running the whole show,” he said, “but it has grown to be more than one person can handle, even one as hardworking as Joe. Therefore, assistant director Roy Robison will now be managing the maintenance crew and taking care of all outdoor maintenance and mowing at the community center and other parks facilities.”

McKinney said this will allow Scott more time to work on events, programs and planning, which will not only grow the parks program but also promote Berryville as a place to visit, work and do business.

In closing, McKinney thanked the city council, commission members and city employees who work so hard to make Berryville a great place to live.

“Last but not least, we said farewell to someone this year who has sat at our council table for the last 27 years,” he said. “Joel Gibson, we all wish you well and offer our heartfelt gratitude for your service to our community.”

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at City Hall.

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