Texarkana Arkansas Board Postpones Votes on Approval of 2021 Texarkana Water Utilities Budget

Texarkana, Ark. City Hall

The Texarkana Arkansas Board of Directors postponed their vote on the Texarkana Water Utilities budget Monday, until the next meeting on January 4th. The budget will create a 3.3% increase in revenue from property taxes compared to last year’s budget, in the amount of $617,092.

TWU Finance Director, Jim Cornelius informed Directors that the budget includes a rate increase of 17.75% and would cause the average residential customer’s water bill to go up by 10.87%, increasing an average bill of $64.23 to $71.71.

Ward 1 Director Linda Teeters and Ward 6 Director Terry Peavy, both of whom will not be returning to the Board next year, suggested that the new Board members taking office next month should be present at the meeting.

The next meeting will be on Monday, January 4th. TWU Directors said delaying the vote until the Board’s next meeting on January 4th would not significantly affect operations.

Also, during the meeting, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Police Department’s purchase of an advanced social media monitoring software that monitors publicly available information of students and alerts of threats of school violence. The software and contract will cost around $32,000.

Social Sentinel is an artificial intelligence-based software solution designed to recognize signals of potential harm found in digital conversations between students, such as organization owned emails and public social media posts.

The software uses a geofencing technique and scans selected digital content to identify language that may indicate the research, planning and implementation of an act of violence or harm, as well as potentially dire mental health issues. The software then alerts leaders if a community member is showing signs of crisis, so they can intervene before an incident occurs.

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