Council assures residents about Raymar Road extension; gets update from Penn on stormwater management work

By Lana Clifton

The Bryant City Council met at the Boswell Municipal Complex on Thursday, Oct. 8. Council members Ken Green and Ed Collins were absent.

Bryant resident, Hayes LeMay, of 1108 Johnswood Road addressed the mayor and council regarding the work being considered and researched for an extension of Raymar Road. He said he was speaking on behalf of other residents of the Johnswood Road area.

“We want to be aware and informed and included,” said LeMay.[more]

He said the group of citizens wanted to be included in the “kick-off” meeting for the project. LeMay said the group was willing to donate envelopes and postage or whatever was necessary to help stay informed.

Mayor Larry Mitchell assured LeMay he would try to work to keep them informed. He said there were items on the meeting’s agenda related to the project in question, but they were for informational purposes and would not result in action.

Mitchell said, if an engineering group was actually hired, they would hold public meetings. He added that, with the help of LeMay and others who could provide names and addresses, he would try to make sure everyone involved would know when the meetings were and what would be discussed.

“We definitely want you guys to be in the loop,” said Mitchell.

Two items on the agenda addressed the Raymar Road extention as well as overpasses and extensions involving Springhill and Prickett Roads. Public Works Director, Richard Penn, presented the scopes of work submitted by Jacobs Engineering. He explained the scopes of work, if approved, would be what Jacobs would use to create a fee schedule.

Mitchell said he believed the scopes of work should go to the street committee and possibly the finance committee before being voted on by the council. Penn explained this would mean a delay of another month, which would result in plans not being started until the end of December or the first of January. The council voted to table the items until the November meeting.

In other business, Penn presented updates on the progress of the stormwater management projects. He informed the council that, out of an approved budget of $225,000, approximately $96,000 had been spent to date.

Penn told the council asphalt patches on Forest Drive, Ashlea Place and Evening Shade were complete. He also said the installation of culverts at Jennifer Cove and Kensington Drive had been delayed because of rain. Penn said the street crew was going to be needed, as soon as the weather would allow, to finish repairing Midland Road, which is currently closed due to a washout. He said as soon as Midland Road was finished, the crew would go back to work on Jennifer Cove and Kensington Drive.

Penn also informed the council that a grant application was still in process and would be submitted to help with improvements to the stream section from Forest Drive to Ashlea Place and for Henson Place south crossing to Highway 5. The grant will be through the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District and Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Council member, Chris Tipton, told Penn he could see a difference between the areas where repairs had already been done and those not yet completed. He thanked Penn for the work, stating he thought the project was working.

Two resolutions were passed to allow for the pursuit of grants. One grant was from the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s Safe Routes to School Program. This grant would provide money for sidewalks that would allow safe walking areas to schools. Mitchell said Reynolds Road was the main area where he saw a need for sidewalks, but other areas would be considered if they passed the criteria for the grant.

The other grant would be for a GIF Fire Protection Grant from the Arkansas Rural Development Commission in the amount of $50,000. The grant money would be used to purchase 31 portable 800/700 MHz radios for the Bryant Fire Department.

An ordinance was passed to allow the purchase of two vehicles for the water/wastewater department. One vehicle, a vac con truck, will replace an existing vehicle that has needed an extensive amount of repairs and is still having problems.

Alderman Robby Young expressed concern that the amount being spent was more than the repair costs of the older truck and said he was afraid the new one would not last very long either, and they would have to spend the same kind of money again in a few years. According to a representative from the wastewater department, the new truck would last longer than the current one had and would be a better truck.

The other vehicle to be purchased is a camera truck used to record the sewer lines. The wastewater representative said the equipment they possess now does not do an adequate job.

Another ordinance dealing with the same purchase was passed to allow a loan to be pursued to pay for the trucks. The loan would be in the amount of $474,708 and would cover the price of both vehicles.

A similar ordinance was passed allowing for a loan to be obtained for the purchase of communication equipment for the fire and police departments. This loan would be for $543,469.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance to allow for the posting of ordinances in five public locations due to the absence of a paper media source in Bryant. The five locations will be: Bryant City Hall at 210 Southwest 3rd Street, Bryant Police Department at 312 Roya Lane, Bryant Parks Department Office at 102 Northeast 2nd Street, United States Post Office at 2103 North Reynolds Road and Mabel Boswell Memorial Library at 201 Prickett Road.

Council members also passed an ordinance allowing for the purchase of 700/800 MHz mobile radios without seeking a competitive bid due to a very low bid already received by the city.

Also at the meeting, Financial Director, Gary Hollis, presented a finance update.

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