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Mountain Home City Council pushed forward with wrapping up some of its end of the year items last Thursday as the city prepares for Christmas break.
The council took up ordinances to give employees a raise, purchase new police vehicles, and an ordinance to officially change the name of the Building Inspection Department to the Department of Planning and Engineering.
The council passed a rate increase for the city’s garbage service, as well as give a first reading on a new noise ordinance for city residents.
One of the first orders of business for the City Council Thursday night was to pass an ordinance to redefine the city’s wage scale and compensation plan to reflect the council’s adoption of a 3% raise, alongside an additional $1 raise, for city employees.
Mountain Home’s City Council approved the raise earlier this month when adopting their 2023 budget. The new wage scale is set to go into effect on Jan. 2. Non-uniformed city employees that are required to work during their scheduled holiday breaks will now also receive overtime pay.
New police vehicles
City Council also approved the Mountain Home Police Departments request for six new police vehicles on Thursday.
MHPD spent the last few months looking for new vehicles for their officers, but vehicle shortages have given the department a difficult time. The department had hoped to purchase the vehicles in-state for below the state bid price but could not find a suitable deal.
Luckily, MHPD was able to find a deal with Duval Ford in Jacksonville, Florida. The six new Ford vehicles will cost $63,000 a piece, for a total of $378,000. The purchased vehicles are expected to be fully equipped and ready to go upon pickup.
City officials noted that Gassville also had difficulty in finding replacement vehicles for their department as well.
Planning and Engineering Department
During their last meeting in November, the City Council approved a measure to reorganize several of their departments.
Under the new plan, Street Department head Arnold Knox will take on a new role as the city’s Director of Planning and Engineering for its new Department of Planning and Engineering and will oversee both the Street and Water departments.
That plan has now come to fruition with officially the council’s approval to transition its Building Inspection Department into the newly organized Planning and Engineering Department.
Knox has served the city for many years and has gained a plethora of experience while serving the city. Under his new role, Knox will be responsible for planning and completing the city’s long-term projects.
In addition to Knox’s new role, the city has created a new position for the Director of Public Works, who will oversee the day-to-day operations of the city’s Water and Street Departments. The new position is expected to be filled within the new few months.
Both of these new positions are a reclassification of the previous director positions at Street and Water. Because of this, both positions are already funded under the city’s budget.
The reorganization is not expected to affect the workflow of city work crews.
Methvin Sanitation rate increase
City Council approve rate increase for Methivin Sanitation to bring the company in line with the Consumer Price Index. The companies fuel surcharge rates will now rise to 6.6%, around 1.228% above its current rate of 5.372%. In dollar amounts, the increase will be around an additional .25 cents per gallon.
Methvin Sanitation is allowed to request rate increases from City Council to cover rising costs per its contract with the city. The rate increase will go into effect Jan. 1.
Methvin Sanitation was sold last month to Waste Connections, the country’s third-largest waste company.
The sale came on the heels of Mark Methvin’s retirement announcement. As the owner of Methvin Sanitation, Methvin has overseen the city’s trash collection for years while providing jobs to the area’s local families.
He is retiring to spend more time with his family and grandchildren.
As the holder of the city’s waste contract, Methvin needed City Council approval to finalize the sale of his business to Waste Connections. The council approved the sale in a unanimous decision during last November’s council session.
Jay Matthis, a representative of Waste Connections, attended the meeting and told the council that Waste Connections plans to keep things in Mountain Home the way they already are. The company will continue to use Methvin-marked waste trucks and will continue the company’s practice of providing Spring and Fall pickups, as well as recycling.
All routes will stay the same. Waste Connections will continue to use Methvin’s telephone number for those needing assistance or more information surrounding their waste pickup
Mountain Home’s residential waste contract with Waste Connections will run until the Fall 2024.
New noise ordinance
Mountain Home may residents may soon find themselves under a new noise ordinance.
The City Council has conducted the first reading for a new city ordinance surrounding noise that will cover everything from residential noise levels to construction noise from night crews throughout the city.
The ordinance is extremely detailed and covers everything from enforcement to decimal ranges for vehicles moving through residential neighborhoods.
Noise complaints are not common in the city according to Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams. The ordinance is modeled after noise ordinances from several cities around the state and is designed to be able to inform new industries coming into the area of what the city will tolerate for noise within its limits.
While residents will also live under these new rules, a majority of the focus is on construction noise, big rigs and construction vehicles, and emergency vehicles. The ordinance would also apply to city work crews as they work throughout the city.
A large focus is specifically for night work with a quiet time of 55 decibels set for 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. in residential areas. A quiet time will also be imposed in commercial areas, though decibel levels will be slightly more elevated than residential decibel levels.
That ordinance, and all of the ordinances mentioned above can be found below.