The Crossett City Council adopted Monday an ordinance that will allow the city to move forward on financing for the East Crossett Sewer Project. 

The project, which voters approved with a vote for an up-to $7 million bond in May 2020, will substantially upgrade the sewer service on the eastern side of the city, including adding enough capacity for future industrial expansion.

The ordinance adopted Monday was one that has been discussed several times in recent weeks. It will allow the City of Crossett to receive temporary financing to complete preliminary work on the sewer project.

Mayor Crystal Marshall told those present at Monday’s meeting that the city cannot release the funds for construction until the bond for the work closes.

“But we can’t close the bond until some other work happens,” she said.

The work in question, acquiring easements and rights-of-way, can be repaid with the bond funds once the bond closes, but the work has to be paid for first. That’s what the temporary financing will address.

The $939,365 loan has already been approved by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Commission, but it could not be released until the City of Crossett officially hosted a public hearing to discuss the matter.

Four non-city employees were present for the public hearing, but none had any comments about the matter. One of the four was Claude Spainhour, who has been a member of the Crossett Sewer Commission  for several decades. 

After the public hearing, the council voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance, No. 2021-4, that would allow the city to pursue the funding and begin work. 

When it passed, Marshall said, “This is progress, and I thank everybody so much.”

Councilman Cary Carter said Spainhour was owed thanks for the work he has done on the sewer project through the years.

“He has done a tremendous amount of work, and done some of it more than once,” Carter said.

During the meeting, Marshall also told the council that engineers from the state highway department had been in Crossett in the last week as part of their review before the repaving project on Main Street begins.

Last month, the council voted to accept a portion of Hancock Road — which is actually a state highway — into the city street inventory in exchange for the repaving of Main Street. The state will repave Hancock Road before handing it over to the city as part of the agreement.

Marshall said she showed the state engineers every concern the city has in the Hancock Road area, and that teams from the state had been performing sonar and radar readings to see what is underground in the areas that will be paved before they send the project to bid.

The project should go to bid soon, with the bid period closing Aug. 11, meaning that residents could potentially see the work begin before the end of the year if conditions are right, she said.

Marshall said the state had also decided to extend the repaving of Main Street beyond the city limits to where the road intersects with Ashley 6.

In other news:

The council voted to accept a bid of $22,074 to bring areas of City Park into fuller accessibility compliance. 

The bid they accepted Monday includes building a flat parking pad that will have access to six-foot sidewalks that connect to either of the pavilions in the main playground area, and then from the pavilions to the walking trail.

“They should be able to roll from the parking spot to the pavilion, and from the pavilion to the walking trail on both sides,” Marshall said.

The council voted to confirm Marshall’s nomination of Ernest Smith to the Crossett Auditorium Board. Smith had approached Marshall on his own about being appointed to the board, she said, and he has attended at least two of the board’s meetings without being a member because he is interested in its work.

The council voted to accept Dan Pevy’s resignation from the Crossett Port Commission. 

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