Dover City Council Sewers and streets were the two major topics at a short meeting of the Dover City Council Tuesday, June 20.
The council passed a resolution approving Mayor Pat Johnson’s budget for the city’s sewer and water systems for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and approved an ordinance making permanent the rate formula put in place last year for the systems. Johnson explained that the city, on the advice of state regulators, had for several years maintained an ordinance which mandated a three percent annual increase in both water and sewer rates to combat rising costs and provide a carryover cushion. He said that in recent years the water system costs had remained relatively stable and its surplus was increasing while the sewer system expenses were increasing greatly due primarily to rising rates charged Dover by Russellville’s City Corp.
Last year, in order to avoid constantly needing to “rob Peter to pay Paul” by transferring funds between departments, the council adjusted the rate formula to one in which water rates would remain unchanged and sewer rates would increase by five percent, Johnson said. The change proved successful in stabilizing the two budgets and so was made ongoing.
The council suspended its rules to allow all three readings of the ordinance at one meeting and appended an emergency clause allowing the new rates to take effect with the next billing cycle. Johnson commented that the rate structure would have to be revisited with the construction of the city’s own treatment plant. He repeated a message from engineer Jeremy Stone of Civil Engineering Associates that the project could begin “within a year to 18 months.” The mayor told the council that the overlay work on Valley and Elizabeth streets financed by a grant through the Arkansas Highway Department could begin “any day now.” He said the replacement of the bridge on Highway 27 (Camp Street) just east of Highway 7 had been delayed because of a shortage of supplies and should now take place during the second week of July, and that the project would greatly disrupt traffic “for a couple of days.”
Dover Branch Library Manager Donna Elliott presented her last report to the council pending her July retirement. She said that after the end of the library’s formal summer reading program at the end or June, a “Come Read and Craft” session would continue each Monday from 10 to 11 a.m. through July, designed to appeal to older children than the regular story time. Sherry Simpson of Dover, presently working at the Pope County Library System’s Russellville headquarters, will succeed Elliott as Dover manager.
Utilities Supervisor Yancy Poynter reported on routine maintenance in the water, wastewater, and street departments, including increasing service to the school’s new field house construction and clearing storm drains at the city park.
Assistant Fire Chief Lewis Dixon reported that the department had conducted three drills, supervised one controlled burn, fought one grass fire, and responded to a fire alarm at Dover’s First Baptist Church during the month. He said official results of the city’s ISO inspection would not be released for “60 to 90 days,” but that preliminary results indicated insurance rates should “remain the same or go down slightly.”
City Marshal Barry Walker reported a substantial increase in department activity during the summer months with 349 total calls, 304 public contacts, 275 property checks, and 318 extra patrols. He said the used police car purchased from the London police department had been assigned to the school resource officer and that he hoped it could be specially marked in a cooperative effort between the city and school. Walker said he had received notification that Dover had cleared the first rounds of consideration for a $273,000 federal grant to replace department patrol units. He said final determination on the grant should be received by July 31.
All council members including Roger Lee, Chris Loper, Pat McAlister, Ila Anderson, Carl Wetzel, and Fred Standridge were present. The council’s next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18.