Water Department Manager Will Hinchey demonstrates a new-style water meter cover at the Clinton City Council meeting, Nov. 12.

CLINTON — With a unanimous vote, Clinton City Council repealed all standing ordinances prohibiting the sale and transport of liquor in the county at its monthly meeting Thursday night, Nov. 12.

The council also held its final reading on the street cut and levy ordinances, as well as heard a report on the progress of the installation of wireless water meters on its system.

The liquor prohibition repeal has held reflecting the county voters approval of the county going wet during the Nov. 3 election. The city had laws on its books dating back to the 1940s, City Attorney Chad Brown told the body, which reflected what was then Van Buren County, and in turn Clinton, being dry. By repeal any conflict with the county being wet was avoided.

The council also passed the street cut ordinance, requiring a series of steps required before any cut could be made into a city street for any reason. The ordinance requires a bond to be posted and, in a component of the ordinance stressed by City of Clinton Mayor Richard McCormac, requires someone from the city to inspect a cut prior to it being covered up in order to assure the underlying soil was properly compacted.

Per the ordinance, failure to have the work inspected prior to it being repaved would result in a $500 fine and could possibly result in the requirement of digging up the work so the proper compaction of the underlying soil could be confirmed. Cost of any necessary repairs would also pass to the permit holder in this scenario. The ordinance included a single-page form used for street cut application.

Millage was passed by the council at 2.9 mil, the amount unchanged from the previous year. At an earlier meeting, Councilman Jeff Pistole proposed an ordinance which would lead to a lowering of millage in the city if alcohol sales tax revenues reached expected levels.

The project to replace all water meters on the Clinton water system with wireless remote-reading units was “95 percent completed,” Water Department head Will Hinchey said. This came from a total of 2,713 meters on 5/8 and 3/4 inch line and 48 meters on 1 inch line, he said, with the big [line] meters “Just now being installed,” he said.

Of the installed meters, 99.6 percent were readable via the wireless interface right now, Hinchey said, with additional work underway. Training would be taking place for the department to fully implement the readers as well as the system being completely set up.

Hinchey demonstrated to the council an application on his phone which he used to read the water system via the installed wireless meters. With the application he was able to read water pressure at spots in the system, including low-pressure which might indicate a leak.

The system had already been used to find leaks in the system, Hinchey said, as it could detect a pressure drop across a meter service. This same function will be available to department customers, who would then be able to spot, for example, a water lead at their home via the application, even if they were not there.

Hinchey also demonstrated the plastic meter covers, installed new as part of the meter installation. Some had complained that the cover was locked and inaccessible, Hinchey said, and that was an understanding. The cover is latched, he said, but the latch can be drawn using either a screwdriver or a knife if someone needed to access their meter. He demonstrated opening the latch for the council.

The plastic covers were required, as an existing metal cover would block the signal from the meter, Hinchey said.

In other council matters:

Fire Chief D.L. Webb reminded that if someone was setting a grass fire, to first call 501-884-6005 to let them know a controlled burn was taking place. This would avoid any 911 dispatches, Webb said.

Parks head Charles Wilson said his department was currently going through the Christmas lights in order to begin decoration, including decorating for Clinton’s “Christmas in the Park” event Dec. 5 (planned to begin at 4:30).

Wilson, now speaking in his role at Street Department head, said brush pickup was underway and being done the second week of the month. He reminded that keeping brush piles small – in accordance with the ordinance passed earlier this year – was important in order for everyone’s needs to be met. When someone has a larger pile everything has to come to a stop to deal with that pile, and other homes might not be serviced, he said.

Tim Clark with the city’s Advertising and Promotion board reminded the council of the play “It’s a Wonderful Life” scheduled for the Clinton School Auditorium Dec. 12.

The Flood Plain map was close to beginning the survey process, Clark, also the Zoning head, said. FTN Engineers in Heber Springs had confirmed to him that everything had been signed and the project as in the FEMA budget. Surveyors are expected to begin Jan. 1, he said. McCormac added that the Flood Map update project was not a result of the election.

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