City Council

Marisa Hicks staff photo

Taylor Marshall, a Friday, Eldridge & Clark representative, updates Greenbrier alderman Monday night on the future of the Greenbrier Water Meter Replacement Project funding request.

GREENBRIER — Alderman voted unanimously to move forward with the Greenbrier Water Meter Replacement Project while also accepting a sidewalk plan to send to Metroplan for grant funding consideration.

Officials headed several meetings last year regarding the Greenbrier Water Meter Replacement Project to address deteriorating, outdated water meters across the city.

The water meter project launched as the city realized the number of failed meters was rising each year.

Most of the meters installed within the Greenbrier Water System are failing because of their age — they are approaching the end of their lifespan of 20 years old, Ronnie Hall, representing the water department as a consulting engineer, previously said.

During the Greenbrier City Council’s regularly scheduled January meeting, alderman gave the city the OK to officially apply for the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund, which is offered by the Arkansas Natural Resources Committee. The loan is disbursing more than $34 million to project across Arkansas with a special lending opportunity to pay the money back at half of 1% (0.005%) interest.

Greenbrier officials voted in favor of replacing all outdated meters

Mayor Sammy Joe Hartwick said if the city is approved for the loan, it will work to replace around 4,300 meters.

Alderman also approved a grant request that has since been sent to Metroplan for consideration.

The city council unanimously approved allowing the city to work alongside Half Associates, Inc. in applying for an 80/20 sidewalk improvement grant. Should the city be approved for the sidewalk grant, Hartwick said it would receive $100,000 for improvements.

The first sidewalks to be constructed would be along Highway 225 East.

This area, Hartwick said, is considered the No. 1 priority.

If the city receives grant funding, it will soon begin work to construct a sidewalk from the intersection of Highway 65 and Highwy 225 East and extend all the way to Cedar Street.

This area “was the main one people wanted” to have a sidewalk constructed at, Hartwick said. “So, that’s where we’re going to start first.”

The city plans to construct other “priority-zone” sidewalks as money becomes available. The sidewalks will be five-feet wide.

In other business, the city council also voted to support a resolution that would put Issue 1 on the ballot in an effort to keep the road tax from expiring.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said Issue 1 is his No. 1 priority headed into the 2020 campaign.

Now, city governments are deciding whether they support the issue.

The road tax Hutchinson is asking cities across the state to back provides funding through a gasoline sales tax. Arkansas currently has a temporary half cent (0.5%) sales tax on gasoline sales that is split three ways:

  • The state receives 70% of the funds.
  • Counties are awarded 15%.
  • City governments receive 15% of collections.

Legislators are looking for a permanent solution to the sunset tax and are hoping to make a constitutional amendment that would make the tax permanent.

If the permanent tax proposal is not approved by Arkansas voters in the 2020 election, the current highway tax sunsets on June 30, 2023.

If the tax were not voted back in, Hartwick said Greenbrier would lose about $110,000 each year in road funding.

The Greenbrier City Council moved to back the road tax resolution.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.

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