July 16, 2008 Edition

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Justices hear recommendation
for rural fire protection district

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Alan Haskins addressed the Quorum Court regarding establishing a rural fire protection district for the area surrounding the city limits of Walnut Ridge.

Haskins reported that there are approximately 250 residents outside Walnut Ridge who now receive fire protection at the cost of $500 per visit from the fire department. If a rural fire protection district was in effect, a yearly fee associated with the payment of taxes (estimated from $45 to $65 depending on the amount of property owned) would be paid instead of the $500 fee.

A public hearing date will be set at the next Quorum Court meeting to give residents who would be affected by this change a chance to voice their opinions.

County Judge Alex Latham reported that Lawrence County has been assessed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for flood damage at a total amount of $132,206. It is expected that Lawrence County will be reimbursed 75 percent of this amount by federal funds and 12.5 percent by state funds. The county will be responsible for the remaining 12.5 percent.

It was also announced that several grants have been awarded to different programs in Lawrence County.

The Lynn Fire Improvement District was awarded a grant totaling $18,116 for the purpose of updating communication equipment to be compatible to the 911 Phase 2 equipment presently used in the county's communications center. Fire Chief Randy Glenn and Mica Vance, fire department secretary, accepted the grant, which came from Arkansas Rural Development.

Lawrence County Fair Board President James Ratliff accepted a $6,000 General Fair Improvement Grant from Arkansas Rural Development. The grant money will be used to improve safety fencing at the fairgrounds.

The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department was awarded a $4,500 Justice Assistance and Local Law Enforcement Grant. There is a required $450 match to receive the grant, which will be used to reduce crime at a local level.

In other business:

  • office space for the Election Commission was temporarily assigned in the old Hutcherson Building. An air duct will need to be in place to provide air conditioning for the room.

  • a four-day work week was considered for courthouse employees. It was decided that each elected official will rotate his or her staff as would be best for that office.

  • Dewey Scott was appointed to the Equalization Board. Scott is taking the place of William Staudt who had to resign for health reasons. The board serves as a resource for residents who do not feel their property taxes are assessed fairly.

  • justices approved an audit for 2006.

  • Ron Thomas spoke to the court regarding two new buildings built in the county that are not up to ADA codes.

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