State of the City Address

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy
February 21, 2017

To the honorable members of the De Queen City Council, city employees and my fellow citizens, I am pleased to report to you on the State of the City of De Queen, Ark. A more detailed report from each department is included with this address.

The City of De Queen continued to make progress in 2016 as major projects in the water department were finally brought to completion. We have had the SCADA system for one full year now and it continues to serve us well. We now have three new pumps at the high lift station on Stilwell Avenue. Each of the pumps is controlled by a variable frequency drive which should result in energy savings. The last two water tanks on Magnolia and Maple Avenue were cleaned and inspected late last year, getting us current with the AWWA standards on tank inspections. All treatment plant operators have their required water licenses and we are in compliance with the Arkansas Department of Health standards on public water systems. We are ready for the bi-annual sanitary survey which will be coming up this spring.

The street department should be ready to take advantage of the State Aid for City Streets program this year. After advertising for bids four times, we are hopeful we will be successful in the April bid letting. In 2016, the street department reworked the “S” curve on north 9th Street to improve safety. They finished some smaller street projects while holding back others for the state aid program. The sanitation department added a brush loader truck last year and it has been very beneficial with the brush collection. Sanitation workers switched from a four-day week to five days per week at the first of this year. That means we have an extra five-person crew one day per week. So far they have concentrated on hauling brush, cutting back the roadsides and trying to improve the look of the city.

The Fire Department had 157 calls last year, which included 56 inside the city and 101 outside the city. The rural fire membership program has about 50 members. Last year the fire departments ISO rating improved from Class 4 to Class 3, a benefit to all property owners in the city. The fire department added a 2007 International 1,500-gallon tanker/pumper truck, which was purchased from a fire department in Iowa. It has more technology and has become the “first-out” truck since it has been in the fleet.

The Parks Department rebuilt the backstop on a second ball field. The Sportsplex parking lot was paved last month and will be ready for the 2017 season. The city swimming pool has continued to be a popular attraction in summer. Redmen Cemetery is getting some attention this year with a new chip-and-seal job for all streets in the cemetery and removal of overgrown brush.

The waste water department completed a sewer extension project on the east side of town out to the new Gentry Chevrolet. This project would not have been possible without access to the sewer system. Two other businesses were added to the sewer. The new sewer line sets the stage for future growth in that direction. The city continues to make early payments on the bonds that financed the new waste water treatment plant. Pilgrim’s has improved its pre-treatment program to the point that surcharges will probably be eliminated, setting up a challenge for revenue in the future.

The city is in a good position in all departments. In the next few months, I will be presenting you with a couple of proposals that will improve revenue from the water, sewer and sanitation funds. One of these is switching to a cart system for solid waste that will improve safety for our workers and hopefully, improve the appearance of the city. In the water department, we have the opportunity to install an automated meter reading system that will save time and money for meter reading. New meters will be more accurate and should enhance revenue for water and sewer departments.

The City of De Queen is in good financial condition.

It is an honor to serve as your mayor and to be entrusted with the affairs of the City of De Queen. I am honored to serve with the City Council.

May God bless America, and the City of De Queen.