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Hardy City Council addresses pump fees, cruise show issues

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tammy Curtis

Staff Writer

The Hardy City Council had a light agenda as they met for June and discussed two upcoming ordinances including FEMA mitigation and problems encountered during the recent Car Cruise event in the city.

Hardy Mayor Nina Thornton discussed with council a "Flood Damage Prevention Code" ordinance, that the city is required to pass. Thornton explained the lengthy ordinance is a revision to the previous ordinance of the same type, but including new maps. The city is required to pass the ordinance to be in compliance and continue to receive disaster money in the event of floods or other natural disasters.

Alderman Raymond Hicks questioned land owners' recourse in respect to changing or altering a structure or land to help prevent erosion. He asked the mayor about the confusion related to whether jurisdiction falls to the Corp of Engineers or the city.

Thornton explained the old ordinance from 1979 states a landowner must have a no--rise certificate when constructing on or improving land. The certificate is to insure it will not make water rise in another location.

Due to the length of the ordinance, as well as annexation and rezoning issues, council members were asked to review the maps prior to passage of the ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

The City of Hardy recently hosted a public meeting to discuss a $5 and $6 pump maintenance fee. Only one person showed up for this meeting, in which council reviewed the reasons for the fee, which included increasing costs of replacing the city's pumps. They also include deliberate misuse, such as introducing foreign objects into the pumps. The cost will be introduced in an ordinance which Thornton said she will prepare for a future meeting.

A FEMA kickoff meeting was held recently in Pocahontas and the mayor said FEMA will audit large projects, with those of $69,500 or less being broken up and written. The city will pay for the smaller projects and be reimbursed by FEMA.

Thornton said she also spoke with FEMA about mitigation money for city hall, which Hardy officials were forced to evacuate before the flood to the current location in the old Hardy gym. The city is exploring other options for housing the city building, but is currently waiting on word from FEMA about the funding for such a project.

What has seemed to be a large amount of discord between some downtown Hardy merchants and the city came to a head during the recent car cruise.

Although Thornton reported to council the event was a success, she said the event did have a disappointing moment. The mayor said the cruise drew a great crowd for the show, which was jointly sponsored by the Advertising and Promotions Committee and the Hardy Volunteer Fire Department. During the course of the event, Jeff Jackson, with the Sharp County Health Department, was called to the park regarding the city not having a permit to sell hot dogs.

Thornton said she provided the items asked by the official and the city passed an inspection and was able to move forward with the sale.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, Thornton said she obtained the information regarding the person who called the department with the complaint and identified them as Marc Herring, a downtown business owner. Herring was asked to attend the meeting according to the Mayor, but was not present. Speaking with Herring after the meeting, he claims not to have been invited. Two council members spoke on Herring's behalf.

Alderwoman Amy Hussung said she spoke with Herring about the event and he told her his reason for calling was the city did not have a permit.

Alderwoman Margaret Harness's account was also the same. Members of the council were very displeased about the incident, including Sherri Groves who said, "It is time we start doing things together and stop stabbing each other in the back. It is time we bury the hatchet."

Thornton assured the council that the city is now in code compliance. "The city now has a health department approved "weiner wagon" and kitchen," Thornton said. They will be utilized during events in the city.

Hardy City council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Old Hardy Gym. The public is invited to attend these meetings.

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Mud meet Stick.

-- Posted by Basser on Wed, Jun 29, 2011, at 3:54 PM

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