Green Forest sees revenue increase

Thursday, January 21, 2021

There wasn’t much on the agenda for last week’s meeting of the Green Forest City Council, and the council members wasted no time in getting down to business.

Topping the list for the Jan. 12 meeting was a vote to approve the city’s budget for 2021.

Mayor Jerry Carlton said the city held a budget meeting last month and reported that the city’s sales tax revenue had increased in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had no issues with budget,” he said after that meeting.

During the January meeting, the resolution to approve the budget passed unanimously with no discussion.

In other business, the council heard a report from the water department on the status of construction on the city’s new water building, where work is progressing smoothly. The city is currently seeking bids for electrical work on the project.

In addition, the council heard a report on proposed work to rehabilitate a waterline on County Road 677. The project is still pending evaluation by Olsson Engineering, since “there’s a lot of rock in that area,” and the best route is still being determined.

Council members also voted in favor of accepting a $15,530 bid from Toby Smith Excavating for work on a collapsed wastewater line that comes from the sludge press building at the wastewater treatment facility. Until the line is repaired, the wastewater department is bypassing the damaged area through the use of a hose and a pump.

The project will involve replacing a manhole and approximately 180 feet of 12-inch line and the approved bid covers both the excavation work and the materials.

The council also approved requests from the fire department for a total of $7,200, funds intended to cover repairs to the department’s small tanker ($5,900) and for the purchase of a second thermal imaging camera ($1,300), which would be placed on one of the department’s older trucks. Currently, only the newest engine is equipped with a thermal imaging device, which is commonly used to aid firefighters in detecting hot spots inside walls and ceilings.

The council also heard from Green Forest native Josh Siebert, now an architect with Modus Studio in Fayetteville, who delivered an update on the city’s proposed Community Building project.

Siebert, who said the drawings for the project have been completed, explained what is expected to happen next.

“The process is once you finish your construction documents, you pass it on to different agencies for review,” Siebert said. “It took them about six weeks. Right before Christmas we got the reviews back.”

Siebert said there were no real changes that needed to be made, but since some of the project is funded through grants, the plans required a bit of fine-tuning.

“We adjusted those over the Christmas break and then we’re ready to take it to bid,” Siebert said, explaining that the bid process would take approximately three weeks once it begins.

Council members also heard from Jim Ulmer of Olsson, who outlined his firm’s bid for part of the proposed Siegfried Park project.

The project, which is funded by a $131,000 50/50 grant, consists of replacing the basketball court, lighting for the basketball court, fencing around the back of the court, lighting for a playground and ADA-compliant sidewalks as well as wood chips for the playground surface.

Olsson’s part of the project, which will include much of the administrative and preparatory work, will have an estimated cost of approximately $35,920 and the council was advised that the grant includes provisions for up to $47,520 to cover engineering, administration and design.

The Green Forest City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Green Forest City Hall.

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