Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Quorum Court Discusses Land Purchase/Jail Status

After reviewing the minutes of the previous meeting, approving the monthly financial statement and studying other reports from elected county officials, the Bradley County Quorum Court discussed other issues of interest.  The meeting was held in the third floor courtroom of the Courthouse Monday, June, 21st.

Judge Neely talked to the Justices about the possibility of buying land adjacent to the county park, off the Old Camden Road.  Over 100 acres is available and he asked the Court if they were interested in trying to purchase some of the property.  Quorum Court members instructed the Judge to talk to the owner and negotiate a potential price.  He will report back to the Court for a final determination.

In other business the Judge informed the Justices that the building recently bought on Cedar Street for county Rescue equipment, has a few leaks that need to be addressed.  He offered three options to consider: patch at a price of $1650.00, resurface entire roof at cost of $6750.00 or install metal roof for a cost of $12,540.00.  After a good deal of discussion, the Court asked the Judge to conduct more research.

Two re-appointments were approved to the county equalization board.  Judge Neely submitted Joyce Trotter Hampton and the Quorum Court submitted Kim Forrest.

A large portion of the meeting was taken up with a discussion of a proposed regional jail.
Previously the Court had approved a resolution creating a four county jail commission.  There have been questions asked by the media concerning who will own the jail, the length of any contract with  the county, the location of the jail and the cost to the county.  Different ideas have been voiced whether the jail would be owned and operated by the commission or if a private company will own the jail.

According to Judge Neely, a private firm from Louisiana spoke to a recent county judges meeting in Little Rock and stated they would build the jail and operate it.  Each of the four counties who have joined to create the commission would sign up for a designated number of beds and would pay a fixed fee per day for use of each bed.  Some type payment would be required whether the space is used or not.  Everything is contingent upon the State of Arkansas Department of Corrections taking part by using a majority of the beds for state prisoners.  It is not known how long the contract with the counties would have to last.

The Judge and several Justices made the comment a number of times that the entire project rest upon action being taken by the State of Arkansas.  There was talk of setting up another meeting with all four interested counties and legislators from the area.  There appeared to be no final decision made on how to proceed.  A number of questions remain to be answered and made public.      

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