By Maria Fields-Chism
Arkadelphia residents could soon see lower insurance rates thanks to measures taken by the city’s fire chief.
The Arkadelphia City Board of Directors approved updated guidelines and standard operating procedures for the fire department Tuesday. Noting that this is the first update since 2019, City Manager Gary Brinkley said that updates occur because of “changes in law, standardizing procedures to emulate best practices, the addition of new equipment, or adding clarity to written policy.” Tuesday’s update reflects all four occurrences.
Specific changes include the addition of procedures for the use of department UTVs and rescue boats, a quality assurance program for building inspections, and training requirements.
According to Fire Chief Jason Hunt, making these changes now could result in a more favorable insurance rating for Arkadelphia residents. The department’s current insurance rating is 4, but, said Hunt, a lower rating of 3 could result in savings of 7.5- to 15-percent on insurance for residents throughout the city.
In other business, directors:
- Heard the status of repairs to bridges around the city. The Walnut Street bridge will reopen Friday. Brinkley said the city will put out a bid this week for repairs to the MH Russell bridge, which is currently closed, and the 8th Street bridge, which Brinkley fears will be closed without immediate action.
- Voted to approve the contract for work for phase two of the zoning and building code rewrite, which concerns the subdivision rules and regulations. The funds for phase two were included in the 2022 budget.
- Heard a statement about the progress of the MLK Park from Assistant Mayor Roland Gosey. Gosey said, “The MLK Park is the conscious reset of what seemed to be an unbalance of scale. It was birthed as a positive reset to move Arkadelphia forward and beyond.” Agreeing that “the progress of the park may seem slow,” Gosey noted, “There is much progress not seen… yet.” Gosey said he expects to make an announcement about the MLK Park at the next meeting.