The Dumas City Council held a Special Called Meeting and Special Work Session Monday, August 30, 2021 at Dumas City Hall.
Resolution #1389: A resolution to have public water systems service fees increased. The City of Dumas water system service fee will increase from .30 cents to .40 cents as passed by Act 788 will become effective on September 1, 2021. The Resolution was adopted August 30, 2021.
The council also received information on a Water and Sewer Audit from Jack Chami, C.P.A, LLC of White, Hall. Chami recommended raising the water rates over a certain number of years up to 5 percent and to redefine terms used for water finances. The money can be used from maintenance and repairs of the water system. Mayor Flora Simon made a motion to adopt the audit report of the water and sewer report. Councilman John Owen made a motion to accept and Diane Fisher Seconded. All councilmembers approved the motion.
The Council discussed maintenance on city property on Bowles Street, an EPA report and having a survey of the property boundary. Hill Seed and Chemical is wanting to expand their property and needed the 2019 Environmental Protection Agency report that was filed on the City property due to spilled oil. The city cleaned up removing the debris around the building. The Hills also reported they had the property surveyed and found that the city was on 3 feet of their property. Mayor Simon advised the council to get the land surveyed and will speak with the city lawyer.
The Community Unlimited Block Grant approval planned to fund two police cars, a garbage truck and a maintenance building. The two cars will cost $38,179.70 with Dumas' $19,089.89 share of the match for both vehicles. The maintenance building will cost $159,172.00.The Council voted for Mayor Simon to sign a revised copy of the loan application with the garbage truck removed from the Community grant application. Once the application is signed, they can get ready for construction on the new building. A motion was made to accept the signing of the loan application. It was seconded and approved.
Mayor Simon submitted the application for the 50% matching grant of $380,000 for improvements of Memorial Park. The improvements include a paved parking lot area, 12X12 pavilion, recreational equipment with a shed cover, a walking trail connecting the areas around the park and the walking bridge over the ditch. They ratified Resolution # 1387. The resolution is to apply for an outdoor recreation matching grant in August 2021. A motion was made to adopt Resolution #1387. It was seconded and all approved.
The council voted on Resolution #1388 to approve the advertisement and procurement of an engineer for Dumas Drainage Grant from Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program. The drainage project on Belmont and Robin cannot begin until it has been advertised in a statewide newspaper. A motion was made to adopt Resolution #1388 and approved.
Mayor Simon reported they have received all the signed easements for the Pickens Wholesale Contract. The Council voted on Resolution #1370 to authorize Mayor Flora Simon to enter into a wholesale water contract with Pickens, Arkansas on behalf of the City of Dumas. They ratified the resolution. A motion was made, second and approved. Five easements have not been returned for the Winchester Water project and they will file condemnations for the properties in Drew County.
The Council talked about not receiving funds from Pro Med and needing to sign an updated contract. They asked the Mayor to set up a meeting with Pro Med to meet with the City Council.
The EMS ambulances are in various states of repair with one in the shop for air conditioner repairs at a cost of $1,600. The ambulance in the accident is getting its front end repaired and then it will be sent to Kansas to fix the box. For now the Dumas EMS have borrowed an ambulance from McGehee so they have two ambulances at all times.
They talked about how Arkansas Rescue Plan Funds can be used for Water and sewer projects, but not for drainage. They discussed raising the pumps out of the ground in several areas around Dumas. It was also recommended they work on water and sewer lines in several areas of Dumas. The city is working documenting any lost revenue.
Mayor Simon reported a decline in the Dumas population in 2021 according to the unofficial census count of 3,936. They discussed annexing properties from North, East, and West of Dumas for economic and community development. They will be looking at annexation rules. “In order to sustain your people, you are going to have to give them something,” Simon said.
The Council discussed the proposal of Rev. James Spinks that they tabled at the last meeting. Mayor Simon said the city lawyer Brooks Gill advised them that in the past that it was recommended not adding any outside business to the old Dtech Center unless it was directly related for education or the workforce center. A motion was made to reject the proposal and it was seconded. One councilmember abstained from voting and rest approved.