The Heber Springs City Council met last Thursday with a full agenda and a full room. After the approval of the previous meeting minutes and the payment journal, they moved on to approve the financial statements of the various financial statements. Supervisor reports were approved with no discussion.

Alderman Paul Muse complimented the Fire Department and Public Works Department for the prompt removal of the tree that had fallen at First and Sugarloaf during the last storm.

There was no old business on the agenda so they moved on to new business. They reappointed Travis Julian to the A and P Commission until June 2022. They appointed Stan Lee to the A and P Commission until 2022. He replaces Bryan Tilley.  Paul Muse was also appointed to the A and P Commission until June 2020. He replaces Paula Sporn.  Jim Lay was reappointed to the A and P Commission until June 2020.

Alderman Paul Muse read an ordinance to purchase a new trash truck at a considerable savings to the city. This was discussed at the previous meeting. The ordinance passed unanimously.

Next, City Treasurer  David Gibbs discussed the transferring of EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) clearing funds to the general fund. These were funds from the gas/lease agreement. They would like to close the gas/lease fund but leave the account open and name it to EFT Clearing fund and disperse funds to proper departments. Mayor Jimmy Clark said this would be helpful to the community center because it would allow people to pay dues with their debit cards.

An encroachment on 1524 W. Front St. Was then approved.

The removal of a Sharp copy machine from fixed assets was voted on along with the addition of a copier to the Police Department.

Clint Bell of CWB Engineers then gave a presentation to discuss the Water Department Second Phase of the Bond issue Master Plan. The water department has reworked all of their pumps at the intake, rehab of Upflow Clarifier, added the Heber Springs High Service Pump Station and several other projects.

This project began in 2012 as part of a Ten Year Master Plan. There have been $10 million in improvements completed.

The Sun Times asked Bell to send the complete list so it could be publicized fully. Unfortunately, that was not received by press time.

Major Improvements have been completed are: Autoread meters, Membrane skid (2.4 MGD) at WTP, Upflow Clarifier Upgrade and painting, waterline extensions and improvement and tank painting and cleaning. Current and Future Improvements: High Service P.S. and Ground storage, Transmission Main, Hospital Elevated Storage tank, Intake pump replacement and Membrane Skid (2.4 MGD). Bell discussed how the improvements will help other issues. It will improve operations, according to Bell.

With this Bond project there will be an additional three million gallons.

With Wastewater improvements completed are, Lift Station Improvements, Sanitary Sewer asset mapping, The I/I flow state. The second Bond will be focused on the Wastewater Treatment and Sewer.

The First Bond was 10.4 million dollars, but part of that was used to refinance old debt. This next round of bonds will $15,400,000. Total Capital Improvements will be 22 million. The interest will be 7% then 6% and then 5%. “When you get a bond you have to maintain your account to cover the debt.” said Bell. There will be a small increase to water bills. For a 4,000 gallon bill it will be an increase of $2.54, the second will be about $2.33 and the third will be about $2.06. This will keep the water bills less than the average around Heber Springs. The average bill in surrounding towns is approximately $45.

Bell explained that when they began the project in 2012, they were losing ground to the system. But this project will solve the problem. It will pressurize the whole town and still allow for the wholesale sales to Mountain Top and Tumbling Shoals. Bell told everyone that this is a good story. “With a town the size of Heber Springs these capital improvements increase the attractiveness to businesses. The infrastructure in the city will be better than other cities,” Bell said.

Mayor Clark praised the water department for all they do. He also said he felt that, “Four years down the road we will see that we were ahead of the game.”

Paul Graham, Head of the Water Department said, “We are being proactive on this. It will put us in a good position going forward.” He said they are, “Continually rehabbing things and not only taking care of what you can see, but also what you can’t see.”

At the next city council, representatives will be present to discuss the bonds.

They will also announce a public meeting soon. Paul Graham welcomes questions if people have them.

An ordinance to approve the action of the Heber Spring Water and Sewer Utility Commission and entering into a wholesale service agreement with the Eden Isle Sewer Facilities Board of Cleburne County.

A resolution to utilize Federal-Aid Recreational Trails Program Funds to Place a bridge that will cover parts of the trails. It is an 80/20 grant. The total grant will be about $209,000, with the trails part being about $49,800 local match/in kind labor to develop or Improve Project Name. The City will maintain the project. The trail, when completed, will go from the sports complex to the college, with offshoots to Bridal Veil Falls and other sites.

The Fire Department 100 year celebration will be on June 1, beginning at 10 a.m. In other announcements it was reported that on Sunday June 2, there will be a clean up/decoration day of the City Cemetery. The Springfest was announced to be on May 17 and 18 at Spring Park and also at the Courthouse.