State of the City 2013
City Councilmen, Attorney Mike Hamby, City Clerk Sharla Derry and the fine citizens of Greenwood.
This past year has been very eventful for us. We’ve taken great strides to grow our city physically and financially.
With the construction of 1-49 and the continued growth of our school system it only makes sense to expand beyond our current city limits. Over the past year Greenwood’s annexation committee has studied several areas to decide which direction the growth should be directed.
Although it’s obvious we need to grow closer to the interstate, it is our belief that there are areas on all sides of us that would be beneficial to Greenwood’s growth and development. The commitment that we have seen from Robert McKinney, Steve Ratterree and the annexation committee, along with our planning commission and department heads has been notable.
Under the direction of Sonny Bell, planning director, and Gary Grimes, the city’s consultant, the city began an economic development committee. Members of this committee include business owners from all over the city along with the Chamber President, Norman Wilkinson and Chamber Director, Doris Tate. Shortly after forming the committee we were given the opportunity to host the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for their regional meeting. This commission aims to stimulate job creation, retention, and capital investment along with the support and increase the development capacity of communities. During their stay we were able to show the commission the proximity of Greenwood to 1-49, the school system and the distance of our school district into Chaffee Crossing, in addition to all of the many amenities Greenwood has to offer. 1 have to say they were genuinely impressed with our not so little town. We had a tremendous amount of help organizing this event and would like to give special recognition to Sonny Bell, John Ciesla, Gary Grimes, Randy Davis, and Phil Hicks for their involvement in not only this event but in their community.
Other great things to come out of the Planning department last year was the hiring of a Code Enforcement/Animal Control Officer. Joseph Fowler attended Animal Control training with the A.S.A.C.A. in Conway and has proven himself to be an asset to the City and its citizens.
During the last Legislation meeting Sonny Bell worked with the City Consultant, State Senator, and State Representative on several bills that would affect the City of Greenwood. He attended State Planning and Municipal League Meetings along with serving on various boards and executive committees.
Fire Chief Stewart Bryan had a generator installed at fire station #1 to provide emergency power. This installation was luckily completed one day before the ice storm hit and was able to provide power to the station during the emergency. Chief Bryan obtained his arson investigation certification and his department continues to educate more than 3,000 children in the community with the Fire Prevention program. Fourteen firefighters achieved IFSAC certification as Instructor 1 through the Arkansas Fire Academy and they responded to over 500 incidents in 2013. Out of the kindness of their hearts, the Fire Department allowed the Police Department to take victory in the Guns and Hoses Blood Drive held this year at City Hall.
Chief Dawson, of the Greenwood PD was able to purchase a Hummer for $850. The work on this vehicle was all done through donations and we have found it to be an excellent tool for connecting with area youth. It features three flat screen TVs, an Xbox 360, and a PlayStation 3. The Hummer has been used to lead the Varsity football team to Little Rock and the Varsity cheer team to state. It is driven by Officer Mergen and is present at as many community functions as possible. Officers also spent time passing out child identification kits during National Missing and Exploited Children’s week. One of the department’s biggest accomplishments can be attributed to our citizens. Thanks to the citizens of Greenwood, we have passed a tax which allows for the expansion of our police department. Our bonds sold successfully and steps will be taken to begin this project quickly to better provide for our citizens.
Doug Kinslow, the Parks Commission and their employees have worked hard on the Greenwood multi-use hike and bike trail at Greenwood Lake. The trail consists of two trail heads and features a bridge constructed by the Eagle Scouts. The department also teamed with the Eagle Scouts on another project at Zachary Park which features a pavilion and access to the walking trail. This park was utilized during the annual Trick or Treat Trail put on by the parks department, Fire and Police Department and Greenwood Schools. There was a large stone placed in memory of the late Bill Walters and will formally be known as Walters Overlook. The community pavilion has continued to be a success. Bookings have doubled and it is now being reserved a year in advance. The parks department is responsible for the Fourth of July Freedom Fest, Bell Park Fall Festival, Trick or Treating on the walking trail, the live Nativity Scene at Bell Park, the Santa House, and they aid Focus on Greenwood with setting up the trail of lights at Bell Park.
Directors Tim Posey and Greg Cross continue to make strides to improve the quality of our water system in Water and Wastewater. Greg has been working toward a grant to install a fluoride injection system at the Water Plant for $114,000.00. This will help us stay in compliance with new state laws requiring fluoride in water, for all systems with 5,000 customers or more. The Water Plant is working on a system to strip Trihalomethanes from stored water before being sent out into the distribution system. This will help with the new, more stringent laws on TTHM removal.
We’ve been working with Western Arkansas Planning and Development, to capture all of the manholes, force mains, and lift stations, on a GIS data base. This will supply maps, and line sizes for future growth.
The new Lift Station #1 at Ash Street is finished. There were many new upgrades, such as concrete that isn’t harmed by hydrogen sulfide, a gate system that makes it possible to close half of the lift station off to work on while the other side is still running. And last but not least, an odor control system.
The Wastewater Department has been working on Influent and Infiltration problems in the Sanitary Sewer Collection System. This reduces the amount of wastewater the plant has to treat during rain events, which helps us meet our discharge limits set by ADEQ.
The Wastewater Department has also had the piping in Ware Road Lift Station replaced, and is in the process of replacing a sanitary sewer line at Division and Joplin Streets. The Wastewater Treatment Plant has been in compliance on all testing and discharge limits for the year.
Thanks to office manager Carla Irwin, the water office itself has taken measures to provide better customer service. A link was added to the City of Greenwood’s website that offers an option for water customers to pay their bill online and pay by phone. The water office continues to take on more and more responsibility with the city’s accounts receivable and we appreciate everything they do. They continue to participate in ACT 769-work with other water departments to collect on past accounts.
Sharla Derry, City Clerk/Treasurer has once again been awarded a scholarship which allowed her to attend the Arkansas City Clerk Recorders and Treasurers Institute. Since attending, she has created a mission statement for her office and made several of the city documents available online. She passed her second year of testing and 2014 should see us with a certified municipal clerk serving in office.
Joe Manes and the street department have finished the Hilltop paving project. Mr. Manes also wrote a letter to the State Aid Street Committee for help with repaving streets. We were told by those who attended the Municipal League Winter Conference that the City of Greenwood’s name was in the book as possible recipients of aid for the North Main overlay. Even funnier, they had Joe listed as our Mayor. Vote for Joe!
We want to first thank the street department for having our streets cleared so quickly during the ice storm. Mr. Manes and his department have been solely responsible for the clean-up of debris for our residents. After filing all the necessary paperwork with FEMA, Judge Hudson, and emergency management to begin clean-up Joe secured one of the burn sites in the county. He then hired the necessary help to document loads and sent his dump trucks out to get started. In the first two passes made through the city they collected over 12,000 cubic yards of debris.
In Finance, Ann Eglinsdoerfer has continued to do well in her position. Several of the councilmen relayed that this year’s budget study was the smoothest it has ever been. Ann has continued to be on top of the numbers and we appreciate that the state audit has continued to be exemplary.
I would like to end by saying I believe we have a strong local government and a strong community. Together there is nothing we cannot do. God Bless Greenwood.