Tuesday, February 21, 2017

TOP STORY >> Mayor: Cabot doing great

Leader staff writer

Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert gave the State of the City report and aldermen approved a bid for the Cabot Senior Citizens Center expansion during the city council meeting on Monday.

Cypert said, “There has been $275 million in development and redevelopment projects in Cabot since 2014. (In 2013, voters passed a one-cent sales tax to support a $42 million bond issue.)

“We have projects that are bubbling and being discussed. For the 19th largest city in Arkansas that is a phenomenal number. Cabot has a bright future. We are in a city that we all can be proud of,” Cypert said.

He said progress can be seen in the city with the opening of the new events center at the Veterans Park Community Center, the opening of the Sportsplex and Aquatic Park, the groundbreaking for a new Central Fire Station on South Second Street and Ritchie Road, the opening of the new Excel Ford dealership at Rockwood Road and the bid letting of the North Cabot Interchange. Construction is underway to connect Willie Ray Drive with Hwy. 38 by early 2019.

“The key thing is first time in the history of Cabot we strategically planned the intersection. The signals and controls are already there and paid for,” Cypert said.

Cabot Wastewater completed work on the Four Mile Creek pump station. The expansion of the community center exercise facility will be finished on March 1. The city also has a new fire truck and automated residential trash collection.

He said Cabot’s current estimated population is 25,587. The school district has 10,669 students including pre-K. The chamber of commerce has 425 members. Cabot has 1,131 business licenses and 10,070 water customers. It is the second safest large city in the state, according to 2015 FBI crime statistics. Unemployment is about 3.1-percent.

The mayor said in 2016 city sales tax revenue was up 5.79 percent. County sales tax revenue was up 1.08 percent. Advertising and Promotion tax revenue increased 6.29-percent. He said Cabot District Court improved revenues to $10 per filing with outsourcing probation services and reducing staff from six to four from nearly a loss of $10 revenue per filing in 2015.

Cypert highlighted the city’s assets. He said 40 percent of Cabot residents are connected to Little Rock Air Force Base. The National Guard Armory has a meeting facility. There are 465 Guard members in Lonoke County with a $17.9 million economic impact to the county.

Cabot is close proximity to world-class medical facilities, recreational lakes, fishing, deer hunting and duck hunting. Clay target sports facilities are in Jacksonville and at Remington Arms in Lonoke. Cabot has one of the top BMX bike tracks in the central United States.

“Cabot has water and wastewater capacity well through this century. It has sound water and wastewater infrastructure with long-term capacity, strategic plans and funding,” Cypert said.

Cabot is “a caring and volunteering community with pride,” the mayor told the city council.

It has the potential for development and annexation within the Cabot WaterWorks service area. It has a state-of-the-art public library. It has one of the best school districts in the county comparable in size per capita of students. There are over 30 churches within city limits.

“We have progressive animal services. I’m proud of the fact we have a very low euthanasia rate of 3.5-percent in 2016,” Cypert said.

Construction started on a new dog park to open later this year.

A town-hall meeting will be held 7 p.m. April 4 at the new event center.

The city council adopted a resolution accepting the $106,349 bid submitted by Floyd Parker Construction for Phase I of the Cabot Senior Citizens Center renovations of the old public library on Grant Street. Construction will start within 90 days.

Floyd Parker Construction of Benton was the lowest bidder. The seniors center has outgrown its current 4,000 square foot building at 600 N. Grant St. and will be moving into the 8,000 square foot former library next door at 506 N. Grant St. Clements and Associates Architecture of North Little Rock is the designer.

Phase I includes adding five offices and four cubical spaces for employees where the adult section of the library was located. It will require building interior walls, paint and flooring.

Phase II, where the children’s section of the library was located, will include the construction of the kitchen and dining room. It has not been put out for bids yet.

The renovations will be completed by the end 2017.