Drainage project hits speed bump

By The Arkadelphian

An Arkadelphia stormwater project is causing a drain on the city’s coffers.

City directors on Tuesday will consider a change order to what was originally a $557,000 drainage project at 27th and Caddo streets. Engineers have discovered the slope of the drainage system is in direct conflict with a water supply line beneath a city street.

To remedy this, contractors plan to excavate the water supply line and put it 4 feet deeper to allow the drainage system to retain its proper slope with no deleterious effect on the supply line, City Manager Gary Brinkley said in a memo to directors. The additional cost requires a $54,537 change order. Engineers were able to secure funding from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management to offset the total expense. The ADEM grant totaled $115,700, shaving more than $61,000 off the total cost of the added work.

Pine Street name change?
Directors will also hear from two residents hoping for board action on the renaming of Pine Street. Citizens Doug Nelson and Dave Collins are scheduled to address the city board about renaming Arkadelphia’s main east-west thoroughfare in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Police stipends
The city board also will consider a resolution to adjust the 2022 budget to reflect $123,800 in state-awarded stipends for certified officers employed at Arkadelphia Police Department. Gov. Asa Hutchinson in March signed a Senate bill granting a one-time $5,000 stipend to policemen, probation and parole officers. The state Department of Finance and Administration is covering employer taxes associated with the stipend.

AWU worker to oversee projects
With “millions” of dollars being spent on construction projects throughout the city, Brinkley has tasked an employee of Arkadelphia Water Utilities with overseeing those projects to fruition.

Ryan Arnold, AWU field superintendent, will receive a stipend for the additional duties of being construction project manager. His duties will include reviewing plans, following up with engineers and contractors and handling grant details. Brinkley said in a memo that the hours it takes to do this job are “sporadic” and don’t necessitate a full-time position.

Funding for the stipend will come from the unfilled city planner’s position.

Other business
Directors are poised to adopt an ordinance to delete Cass and Butler streets, two planned and platted — but never constructed — roads in downtown. The ordinance is on its third and final reading.

Directors will consider a second reading of an ordinance reapportioning city wards. If passed, that ordinance will head to its third and final reading at the next board meeting.

Brinkley will offer an update on the indefinitely closed Walnut Street bridge.

Fire Chief Jason Hunt will provide an update on the department’s new fire engine that’s being built.

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