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New jobs on Fort Smith Board agenda

story by Aric Mitchell
amitchell@thecitywire.com

The Fort Smith Board of Directors will spend Election Night (Nov. 6) addressing city business for one of the final times under its current configuration.

City directors will know who to expect in the Ward 3 and Ward 4 positions after the votes are counted on Tuesday, but until then it’s business as usual.

Ward 4 Director George Catsavis will face competition from candidate John Cooley, while Ward 3 Director Don Hutchings will leave his post to candidates Matt Garner or Mike Lorenz.

While voters decide on the new faces, the directors will entertain the presentation of the 2013 city budget with budget hearings to come on Nov. 13, 15 and 19.

The board is also expected to approve a resolution certifying a local government endorsement for the Tax Back Program in support of Arkansas Refrigerated Services, Inc (ARS).

ARS will “update its facility located at 24 North D Street in Fort Smith by investing over $2.5 million and adding twenty new jobs. The company will be updating their equipment to be more energy efficient,” according to a memorandum from Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman.

The Tax Back Program applies to capital purchases associated with construction of new facilities or expansion of existing facilities and does not apply to ongoing purchases.
The program is designed as an incentive for business growth and expansion to Arkansas through the refund of state and local sales tax revenue.

The majority of the incentive will come from the state sales tax rebate program administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, according to Dingman, but participation in the program is contingent on local government approval.

“This action will support the board’s stated goal of pursuing economic development and job creation,” Dingman said.

The board will also vote on two rezoning ordinances and tackle a consent agenda of 15 items including:
• Authorizing acquisition of real property interests for Jenny Lind Road and Ingersoll Avenue widening — a $511,300 project budgeted in the Sales Tax Program fund;
• Accepting bid for lighting replacement to all fire stations — a $51,235 non-budgeted item that is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program;
• Authorizing execution of Authorization No. 2 to the Mickle Wagner Coleman, Inc., agreement for engineering services related to Chaffee Crossing water supply improvements on Chad Colley and Custer Boulevards — a $149,820 item budgeted in the 2012 Sales Tax Bonds program; and,
• Authorizing acceptance of a $24,000 offer made by property owners for the acquisition of easements in connection with the Lake Fort Smith 48-Inch Water Transmission Line project.

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The meeting will take place at the Fort Smith Public Schools Service Center starting at 6 p.m. The full agenda (PDF) is available at the city of Fort Smith website.

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