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Texarkana Board approves $648,000 to dredge and reinforce Nix Creek’s banks | Project will have little effect on potential flooding, officials said; contract for Kesser International of Little Rock

Sediment buildup nearly blocks Nix Creek on Monday alongside Legion Drive in Texarkana, Ark. During a regular meeting Monday, the city Board of Directors voted to approve a $648,000 contract for work on the creek, including dredging the worst sediment deposits.

Posted on September 22, 2021

TEXARKANA, Ark. — During a regular meeting Monday, the city Board of Directors approved a contract worth nearly $648,000 for work to help repair and prevent erosion in Nix Creek.

The Board voted unanimously to award the contract to Kesser International of Little Rock for work including dredging accumulated sediment and shoring up the creek’s banks at spots where they have worn away. The project will address an estimated 20% of the work needed to keep water flowing through the creek bed, and it will have very little effect on potential flooding of the kind seen by residents during heavy rain the last couple of years, Public Works Director Tyler Richards said.

The work will affect flooding “a very small bit,” he said. “It’s not going to be a noticeable difference. It is not going to decrease the floodplain whatsoever. Those areas that are in floodplain, they’re still going to flood. There’s nothing that we can do to stop that. We are simply removing these large sediment deposits, trying to stabilize those banks.”

Water finds its way around sediment deposits caused by bank erosion, so they do not decrease the creek’s capacity enough to cause flooding, he said. Instead, the problem has been too much rain.

“We have just been extremely unfortunate in the last couple of years with some heavy, heavy rains. We had a 100-year storm last year, and this year we had a 50. That’s pretty much unheard of,” he said.

The ideal solution to the flooding problem is construction of water detention basins that would temporarily hold storm water, preventing it from causing damage, but such projects require extensive excavation and cost $500,000 to $1 million each, Richards said.

“It would be better to address some of the tributaries, detention along some of the tributaries going into Nix Creek. I’ve got several locations where I would like to move detention ponds, and I want to start incorporating some of those projects into our budget. That is truly going to be the only thing that helps any flooding issues,” he said.


Law enforcement records management

The Board also unanimously approved purchase of new dispatch, records and jail management computer systems to integrate those functions among both Texarkanas’ police departments and the Bowie County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office in the Bi-state Justice Building.

The Texas-side agencies use one system, Texarkana Arkansas Police Department uses another, and all systems in use are nearing or beyond their expected functional lifespans, said Doug Avery with the TAPD’s Central Records and Communications Department.

“When computers came around and we started doing this we went one way and everybody else went another. It’s time that we all get where we need to be and we all operate on one system,” he said.

The multi-government Bi-state Committee has been working toward the change for months, said Mayor Allen Brown, who serves on the committee.

“This is something that’s desperately needed by our law enforcement,” he said.

The Motorola systems to be purchased are among the best available and will be fully compatible with recently purchased new Motorola radios used by TAPD, Avery said. Such a “vetted” system is especially important because, with the exception of New Boston, Texas, Bi-state dispatchers handle every emergency call from the Texarkana, Arkansas, city limits to the borders of Bowie County, Texas.

“We need a program that is substantial enough to handle that. There are not very many vendors who can do what Motorola can do,” he said.

Total cost for the new systems will be $2.5 million over five years paid out of the CRC budget, to which both Texarkanas and Bowie County, Texas, each contribute a third. Some expense cuts will help pay for the change, Brown said. Funds budgeted in previous years but not yet spent will cover $1.2 million to $1.3 million of the cost, Avery said. In addition, about $160,000 spent per year to maintain the older systems will become available.

Spending “$198,000 a year is not much to have a top-line program that is fully functional and capable, so that officers can use it to the fullest,” Avery said.

Other business

The Board also unanimously approved extending Texarkana Water Utilities’ Fiscal Year 2021 budget until a Fiscal Year 2022 budget can be approved. The 2020 cyberattack on local government computer system has delayed preparation of a TWU budget for FY ’22, which begins Oct. 1.

Richards gave a presentation on the results of a recent, detailed study of the condition of city streets.

A contractor determined that the majority of city streets are in fair condition. About 17% are in “lost” condition, meaning they will have to be completely rebuilt.

It would cost about $20 million to rebuild those streets, $15 million to get those in critical condition to fair condition, and another $35 million to move fair condition streets to good condition, Richards said.

The city has about 2,000 potholes and 6,000 roadway base failures. It would take about $20,000 to $30,000 worth of materials and six months of nonstop work to fill all the potholes, he said, but available manpower is an issue. Ideally, the city would have three asphalt crews, rather than the current one crew, to achieve consistent scheduling and address the pothole problem, he said.


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