August 15, 2007 Edition

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Justices receive opinion
on renting building


Dick Jarboe (left) attorney for Lawrence County, discusses the opinion received from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on the county's ability to lease the former Hutcherson building with justices at the Quorum Court meeting Monday night. Jarboe said the opinion rules that the county can lease the property without taking bids.
Amber Adams
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court voted Monday night to rent the former Hutcherson building after receiving an opinion favoring the decision from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham said he received an opinion from McDaniel on Monday afternoon and sent it to Dick Jarboe, the county's attorney. Jarboe said the opinion would allow the county to lease the building to a private party without taking bids.

He recommended that officials get the building appraised to see what fair market value would be in Walnut Ridge.

"That same building in Jonesboro would be worth three times what it is in Walnut Ridge," Jarboe said.

Justice Jim Jones made a motion to lease the building for $2,500 per month, with the leasee paying general maintenance and repairs and the county paying taxes and insurance. The motion carried six to two.

Latham said he would contact Bob Cole to offer him the lease. Cole operated Cole Furniture in the building several years ago and had shown interest in reopening in that location.

In other business the court approved the appropriation of $10,000 for a court computer system. The system will consist of 10 computers, some of which will be located in the judge's office, the city of Walnut Ridge, the city of Hoxie and Ravenden.

"They are attending training at the end of the month," said Lawrence County Sheriff Dan Ellison, "and the system will be up and running by Sept. 1."

During the meeting, Latham updated the court on plans for a new courtroom saying that architects will begin drawing new plans with the addition at the rear of the courthouse rather than the front.

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