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The City of Cotter officially has a new City Council member this year.
During their council meeting on Thursday, City Council members cast their vote to appoint Cotter flyfishing guide Ben Woodard to Ward 3, Position 2. Woodard is replacing Nicole Hatchett, who resigned in November of last year.
The new council member will serve until the end of the year, after which his seat will be turned over to the winner of this year’s election.
“Congratulations and welcome aboard,” said Cotter Mayor Mac Caradine after swearing in Woodard on Thursday night.
Woodard and his wife, Jenny Woodard, moved to Cotter in 2019 after visiting the area several times. Woodard is a native of Waco, Texas and his wife is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas.
The happy couple currently lives in Rainbow Heights along with their three dogs. Woodard is the owner of Woodard Fly Fishing and can regularly be found on the White River with his wife.
Woodard also serves on the planning and zoning committee for Cotter. He previously floated a run for city council but did not run due to a busy work schedule. He said both he and his wife were now looking to use more of their time to serve Cotter residents.
“I’m just looking to serve in other ways and learn more about how the city works,” said Woodard. “We’re trying to schedule more time to be in the community this year. I’m quite busy, I’m a fly fishing guide. I spend 200 days out on the water. We’re scaling back a little bit this year, but hopefully we’re going to be in Cotter forever. So, whether it’s this term or one later down the road, we’d love to serve this community.”
Other Cotter City Council News
In other Cotter City Council news, Mayor Caradine and members of the council praised the work crew at the Public Works Department for their handling of several burst pipes during Northern Arkansas’s snowstorm two weeks ago.
Public Works Director Justin Morrow said that his crew tackled six leaks over the past few weeks that were due to the severe freezing temperatures. Morrow stated many of the most recent leaks occurred as the ground began thawing and shifting, putting pressure on many of the pipes beneath the city.
One of the biggest leaks occurred on 3rd and South, forcing crews to hop down into a flooded hole to put a clamp on the burst pipe. Morrow said that it was nearly impossible to drain the hole, even with a three-inch pump running wide open.
“I want to praise my guys for coming in and working in the cold,” Morrow said.
To combat the flooding, Morrow and his crew slowed the flow of water to the pipe, giving them enough time to install a clamp over the leak. The public works director said slowing the water in the pipe is often better than turning it off altogether, as it prevents residents from having to boil their water after the leak is fixed.
Each clamp is good for 350 psi. Morrow said that no pipe in the city reaches that pressure.
“That way, we don’t have to shut the water down,” Morrow said. “That’s what keeps us from having to go on boil orders. That way, we don’t have to cut out sections of pipe.”
Following Morrow’s update on his crew’s tackling of burst pipes, Cotter City Council moved forward with its new business for the evening.
That business includes a brief discussion of Cotter’s Fly Fishing Film Tour, which is set for May 25 underneath the Cotter Bridge. This year’s film is expected to start earlier this year to allow more people to watch the second half of the film after an intermission.
Following that discussion, the Cotter-Gasville Chamber of Commerce donated $13,500 to the city for its planned Big Spring Park lighting project. The donation required the Cotter City Council to pass a resolution amending its 2024 budget to receive the donation, as well as a resolution to apply to the Arkansas Rural Community Development grant that will also cover a portion of the project cost.
Cotter’s City Council also passed a resolution approving the receipt of grant funds in the amount of $49,240.39 from the Arkansas Department of Safety for purchasing police equipment.
The council then finished its meeting by passing resolutions establishing its members’ code of conduct, as well as its code of conduct for its various meetings and activities.