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TEXARKANA — Bowie County Judge James Carlow told the August board meeting of the Texarkana USA Chamber of Commerce that conversion of Farm to Market Road 989 from I-30/989 to Nash, turning it into a four-lane highway with a turning lane in the middle, would begin soon.

"Property displacement is expected," Carlow said. "It is going to be chaotic there for a while, but once done, things will be a lot smoother, even when the expected traffic begins to come through."

The two mayors gave reports on their cities and areas of influence.

Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman said city officials have recommended the city tax rate remain the same, though they are still considering a $1.50 water rate increase per 1,000 gallons.

"This will be to fund a new raw water treatment plant," Bruggeman said. "The old plant is still in operation, but it is getting that time where it will need to be replaced."

Also, the land closing took place for the Hotel Grim on July 31. Final closing is set to take place in September.

"There is a lot of work to do on the building," Bruggeman said. "We are trying to use local companies for the work."

Mayor Allen Brown of Texarkana, Arkansas, discussed ongoing issues on the Arkansas side.

"We are continuing toward resolution of police and fire pay issues," he said. "We've read the plan for the entertainment district once, and we anticipate adjustments."

Revenue is up on the Arkansas side of the city, Brown said. "It is due to sales tax revenue, which is doing well."

At the state level, sales tax revenue collected on internet purchases is reported to be in the $30 million range.

"Local medical marijuana outlets are still coming," he said. "Sixteen thousand medical marijuana cardholders are estimated in the state of Arkansas."

The Crossroads Business Park will be the site for the new middle school, where ground was recently broken. All Arkansas-side middle schools will be consolidated at this coming new location. The disposition of the old middle school properties is to be determined.

Also on the Arkansas side, funds have been secured to build a new animal shelter. And the planning phase has begun for refurbishing the former Boys and Girls Club building.

"The city budgeting process is to begin in October," he said. "We look forward to getting past a few issues, moving forward."

In additional chamber announcements, the Taste of Downtown event is coming, which is a fundraising event for the Greater Texarkana Young Professionals college fund. A date has not been announced, but it should take place in the first or second week of October.

Also announced is another Cash Mob coming Thursday at 4 p.m. Those wanting to participate should gather at Reggie's parking lot and await further instructions.

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