Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Quorum Court Authorizes Hiring Temporary Employees

Eight of the nine members of the Bradley County Quorum Court meet Monday evening April 17th to conduct business for the month.  Normal reports were reviewed and approved.  Judge McKinney reported that two used patrol vehicles have been purchased from the state for use by the Sheriff's office.  One has 63,000 miles and the other 90,000.

The Judge also talked about road maintenance work and indicated that efforts are underway to secure several grants for protective vests, courtroom security and a new Sheriff's car.  He also indicated he was pursuing funds to be used to improve access roads to Felsenthal.

Judge McKinney informed the Justices that the survey of residents and businesses relating to the payment of solid waste fees has slowed due to other work requirements.  He stated that 11 new accounts were located during March.  He then asked the Court to authorize him to hire one or two temporary employees to continue the survey of the county.  Justice Hargraves made the motion and Justice Morman seconded the motion.  It passed 8-0.  There was no comments made concerning transportation expenses.  No pay was set, although the Judge indicated he was thinking of around $10.00 per hour.

There was considerable discussion about the need to update the 911 recording system in 2018. Justice Hargraves voiced his concern that the county not pay for a 2017 version of equipment and by the time it is installed in early 2018, it is already outdated.  Judge McKinney suggested the Court wait till the May meeting to make a final decision.  He did state the upgrade is needed.

Judge McKinney informed the Quorum Court that the regional prison/jail is going to happen.  He asked the Court to change the ordinance that created the jail Commission and to add the Sheriff to the board, along with the county judge.  This was approved 8-0.  No new information was provided on the location of the prison/jail or any other details given.

The Justices then adopted ordinance #712 creating a vicious dog law for the county.  There was discussion about adding language to make dog owners responsible for any cost to the county but no action was taken.  The Judge stated he wants to take a wait and see approach. The ordinance makes provision for owners to be fined.

Judge McKinney nominated Freddie Mobley for another term on the Southeast Arkansas Intermodal Board.  The appointment was confirmed by the Court.

During the time for public comments, Gregg Reep, a reporter for asked the Judge and Court to provide an answer to the reccurring question as to "what is the purpose of the regional jail commission."  Judge McKinney nor the court could provide an answer.
Reports have been provided in the past indicating that a private company will own and operate the jail/prison and the state and counties will contract for beds. The question being asked is why a multi-county commission is required?  Each county can contract directly for services.  No one involved with the project has been able to explain the purpose of the commission, except to say the Arkansas Governors Office says it must be done.  Several JPs were questioned after the meeting and none could provide any information as to the purpose of the commission.

In another comment, Justice Eddie Parnell asked if the county can charge the judicial system for cases that utilize the Bradley County Courtroom facilities that are from other counties?  

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