Council OKs bonds, more

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The Conway, Ark., City Council approved employee bonuses, equipment purchases and hospital improvement bonds on Tuesday.

Aldermen approved on the issuance of two hospital revenue improvement bonds for Conway Regional Health System — one for up to $36 million and another for up to $6 million. The city bears no financial responsible for repayment of the bonds.

Conway Regional CEO and President Matt Troup said that a little more than a year ago, hospital administrators partnered with the University of Central Arkansas, the city and others to develop a long-term master campus plan.

"This bond issue will fund the first segment of that plan," Troup said. "The primary things are twofold: a new critical care unit ... that will increase in the number of critical care beds by about six and then adding a shell space to expand in future years. The other part of this funding will be a medical office building that be women services-related."

He said those two projects would be "approximately half of the $40 million bond issuance."

"The other funds will be used to expand clinics and a series of other smaller projects that are also a part of this bond issuance," he said. "It helps to get our campus and facility up to serve the community's needs for a longer term."

The council approved appreciation bonuses for all employees. Full-time employees will each get a $350 bonus and part-time employees will each receive a $150 bonus.

"We've got a great group of folks," Mayor Bart Castleberry said.

The council approved the sanitation department buying a used excavator it had budgeted for.

"It's going to end us saving us about $70,000," Sanitation Director Joe Hopper said.

He said the excavator has a life expectancy of about 10 years.

Aldermen also approved the Conway Police Department using funds it received through an Arkansas Department of Emergency Management grant to buy night vision goggles for the department's SWAT team.

All items passed 7-0. Alderman David Grimes was absent.

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