May 16, 2007 Edition

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Cole speaks to justices

Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Bob Cole, proprietor of Cole Furniture, spoke to justices at the Quorum Court meeting on Monday afternoon about renting the Hutcherson building.

Cole told justices that he was interested in moving his business out of Jonesboro and would prefer to relocate to Walnut Ridge. He said he has been approached by Blytheville and Truman in regards to relocation, as well.

"We did $1.3 million dollars worth of business when Walnut Ridge was booming," said Cole. "We dropped to $400,000 our last year here."

Since he and his wife still live in Walnut Ridge, Cole said they would rather reopen a store here.

County Judge Alex Latham said he would contact the county's insurance provider to see what it would cost to insure the building as a furniture store. Members of the budget committee said they would consider this, the cost of taxes and fair market value to come up with a reasonable rental rate.

"I'm for a viable business being in there," said Justice Dean Davis. "We need something to bring in sales tax."

The budget committee plans to meet with Cole and the county's attorney, Dick Jarboe, on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

In other business the court approved the budget committee's recommendation to pay 100 percent of dental insurance for county employees. This recommendation was based on an offer by Michelle Evans, circuit clerk, to pay one of her employees' salary out of her automation fund, if the county would take the money saved on this salary to pay the insurance.

Justices also passed an ordinance adopting a new Law Enforcement Policy Manual. Sheriff Dan Ellison said that each officer will receive a new manual which covers issues such as bail bond, chain of command, arrests, holidays, off-duty conduct and the county's shooting policy.

Also, Latham discussed purchasing a computer program, as part of the court system, which would allow the judge to know whether a defendant was current on fine payments. Justices voted to hire someone part-time to reconcile the books until that system is in place.

He also informed the council that he will begin accepting bids to lease or buy some new equipment for the county.

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