Marked Tree councils approves line of credit for rail spur
The Marked Tree City Council authorized the mayor to open up a line of credit for a short term loan to help pay for construction of the Awesome Products rail spur.
Construction of the spur is estimated to cost about $1.19 million. The city has been awarded two grants for the project: an Arkansas Economic Development Commission grant for $499,000 and an Economic Development Administration grant for $600,000.
City Clerk Pam Wright explained to the council that with the EDA grant, the city has to pay the invoice up front and then will get reimbursed 51% by the EDA later. As such, Mayor Wayne Nichols estimated that the city may need to take out a loan for about $102,000 to help cover construction bills until the city can get reimbursed.
In other business, Wright discussed with the council the possibility of the city participating a water utility database system. The system costs $300 for one year. Wright explained that if several surrounding cities are part of the database, a city will be notified when someone moves there from Marked Tree without paying their water bill. That city would then notify the resident that their water would be shut off unless they pay their Marked Tree water bill. Wright said that the majority of cities in Poinsett County would need to participate in order for the system to work and that she would get together with other city officials to see if they're interested. She said the system would be a good way to collect on bad debts. "We don't have a way of collecting money if we don't do this," Wright said. The council approved participating if other cities in the county agree to as well.
Mayor Nichols informed the council that the city is picking up limbs from storm damage and nobody will be charged for this pickup. He expected work to continue into next week.
After an executive session, the council approved hiring three employees--a patrolman, a street worker and a janitor--to replace three employees who have left.