Mayors give updates at intergovernment meeting

Friday, July 12, 2013

City and county officials met in Lepanto to give updates during the Intergovernmental Cooperative Council's quarterly meeting Tuesday.

County Judge Charles Nix told those gathered that Poinsett County will receive federal disaster money for damage caused by flooding and severe storms in late May and early June. He said officials from each county receiving funds will meet with FEMA in Batesville this week. This and a later meeting in Poinsett County will help determine how much funding the county receives.

Nix also spoke about a meeting with East Arkansas Planning and Development District at ASUN-Marked Tree on Monday. During this meeting, there was talk of getting a feasibility grant to put in a scenic bike trail on old Highway 63 between Tyronza and Marked Tree. "This was a preliminary meeting. It's strictly in the planning stages," Nix said.

Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Frank Kraft discussed updating the county's mitigation plan. He said the previous plan, which came out to 226 pages, was approved in 2008. According to Kraft, FEMA is requiring a lot of outdated and redundant material be cut from the plan. All cities in the county will need to update the plan with disasters they have faced, and how those disasters were addressed, since 2007.

Lepanto Mayor Steve Jernigan, who hosted the intergovernmental meeting, said Lepanto is still trying to find a way to fund a project to replace 13,000 feet of galvanized water lines. The city was approved for a $1 million loan, but the city council asked Jernigan to continue looking for grants to help fund the project rather than increase water rates to pay for the loan.

Talking about tourism possibilities, Jernigan said he hopes to see more people visiting Lepanto once the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and Museum open in Dyess.

Harrisburg Mayor Randy Mills said several new businesses have opened, and he thinks the consolidation with Weiner will help Harrisburg's population grow. Harrisburg Economic Development Director Jamie Wright said the Veterans Park in downtown Harrisburg is complete and has started holding a farmers market.

Marked Tree City Clerk Pam Wright said a special mayoral election is set on Aug. 13. Mary Ann Arnold, Dixon Chandler, Cleo Johnson, Jr., and James Williams are running to finish out the late Wayne Nichols' term. An Ask the Candidate event is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, at the Marked Tree High School Auditorium. Candidates will be available to answer questions from the public.

According to Trumann Mayor Sheila Walters, two major projects are under way. A detention pond is currently under construction near Mulberry Drive to alleviate flooding, and the city council approved an architect for the new adult education building.

The Intergovernmental Cooperative Council's next meeting will be in October.

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