August 21, 2013 Edition

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WR Council discusses replacing
tractor, ongoing street repairs

Gloria Wilkerson
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge councilmen discussed city streets needing repairs, replacing a tractor for the park department and received a brief update on the city's budget at their regular meeting on Aug. 13.

Street superintendent Rickey Ditto told the council that the State Highway Department had visited and looked over the city's streets.

"Everything is in pretty good shape for paving except for a few tiles that need replaced," Ditto said. "Although work has been delayed by recent rains, paving should begin the first part of September."

Southern Avenue is one of the streets that will receive repairs. The street is located in front of the Walnut Ridge Community Center, at the rear of the Walnut Ridge School campus. Several stop signs were placed along the street over the past few years in an effort to slow down speeders for the safety of children in that area, which is a school zone, as well as a residential area.

Mayor Don House told the council that school buses and large trucks are damaging the street when they have to stop at the stop signs. The heavy vehicles rock back and forth when they stop, causing holes to form in the roadway.

He said the street was built on top of substandard fill dirt used for a base, and now it has to be repaired. Several options were discussed for preventing the same damages in the future, including removing some stop signs.

Alderman Michael "Button" Wallin told the council the signs were placed along the street to protect children and whatever steps the city takes has to put their safety first.

The topic was tabled until next month so more options can be explored.

One of the park department's tractors has broken down and will have to be replaced. Bids will be taken on a four cylinder, four-wheel drive tractor, which is estimated to cost slightly over $20 thousand.

"The city's budget is looking good so far this year," Alderman Anthony Pinkston, budget committee chairman, told the council. "Insurance costs are out of our control, but we're doing well for now."

At the request of Alderman Wallin, the council also agreed to visit Federal Surplus to check on the possibility of buying two small trucks for the mosquito department. Wallin said he spoke with Federal Surplus 10 months ago about two trucks and had just learned they now have two that sound promising, with the total cost for the pair being $4,500.

"If they are what we want, the mosquito department could save gas by using them to spray and they would be safe to drive on the walking trail when it is sprayed," Wallin said. "The two larger trucks could go to the street department, which is short one truck right now. The other one could be used by Ditto, who is using his private vehicle for work purposes right now."

In other business:

  • the council received an estimate from the Highway Department informing them that a traffic study of the Highway 67B and Free Street intersection warrants a traffic light, but the city's part of the project would cost $523,250, not including right-of-way acquisition. Alderman Jeff Taylor suggested that the intersection be monitored by the WRPD as needed for now, and the other councilmen agreed.

  • Mayor House told the council that the city's 2012 audit has been completed with no deficiencies, and the City Water and Sewer Department's audit is also completed with no significant deficiencies.

  • Aldermen agreed to pay the liability insurance and rent for the Guitar Park property since the park was leased to the city. Rent in the amount of $200 is paid to the Union Pacific Railroad, and the city will continue to pay it.

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