The Jacksonville City Council on Monday heard a first reading of a proposed ordinance to declare eminent domain on a portion of T.P. White Drive for the purpose of obtaining easements to place water lines there.

The issue is expected to be taken up when the council meets at its next regular meeting Aug. 2.

The property is located within the Jacksonville city limits at 6800 T.P. White Drive, which is a Cabot mailing address.

"Despite efforts by Jacksonville Water Works to acquire certain utility easements and rights of way and through real estate owned by John David Cunningham for construction and improvement of a public water main line, together with the necessary ingress and egress for Jacksonville Water Works, efforts to amicably resolve the parties’ differences and secure the required property easements and rights of way have failed," according to the ordinance. "Immediate access to said real property as described below is required for construction and development of said improved public water line and the necessary ingress and egress to such for extension of public water distribution service on behalf of the Jacksonville Water Works."

If council approves the ordinance, Mayor Gary Fletcher and City Attorney Robert Bamburg will be authorized to file the appropriate documents and pleadings necessary, together with postings of the appraised value of the real property in question with the Pulaski County Circuit Court, according to the ordinance.

The paperwork would be filed with the Circuit Court office "so as to obtain immediate accessibility and privilege to the needed easements and rights of way across and through real properties described therein for the purpose to provide adequate land for the improved ingress and egress of public water lines for the purpose of construction projects of the Jacksonville Water Works and Central Arkansas Water."

Fletcher said the project will extend water lines to areas that the city of Jacksonville annexed into the city last year.

Parts of these areas have no water service.

"For the city to maintain its current ISO rating, it has to extend water lines to this area during the next few years," according to Jacksonville City Administrator Jim Durham.

A city’s ISO rating determines how well the insurance industry believes a city can combat fire. The better the rating, the cheaper fire insurance rates become for property owners.

Durham said the city and landowner could not come to an agreed-upon price to obtain easements for the property to build the lines.

In other council business, the council voted to approve a bid to perform excavation and drainage work that will benefit the Beechwood Subdivision area off of Loop Road.

Frank Gardner Construction of Mount Vernon won the contract by submitting a bid of $159,678. Gardner submitted the lowest of three bids. The other two companies vying for the project were: S&J Construction of Jacksonville, which submitted a bid of $187,334.80, and Township Builders of Little Rock, which offered to do the job for $442,528.

City Engineer Jay Whisker said the project will help eliminate drainage problems for the subdivision, which sometimes floods during heavy rains.