October 15, 2008 Edition

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JPs approve 2009 budget

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The Quorum Court approved a balanced budget for the 2009 year at its meeting Monday night.

Projected revenues, gathered from sales tax revenue, general revenue state turnback funds, property tax and other sources, total $3,101,658. After a 10 percent holdback, $2,791,492 is available for meeting county expenses. Expenses for 2009 are estimated at $2,772,226 (a related legal will be printed Oct. 22).

"We feel like we have a solid revenue source and have projected conservative figures for the budget," said County Judge Alex Latham. "We've tightened everywhere that we can."

Latham said if revenues decline or expenses increase, the next step would have to be letting go personnel to keep the budget balanced.

The 2008 budget was also discussed. Latham reported that it was decided to put off renovations on the additional courtroom until next year. He said that excessive spring flooding and other increases in expenses have caused this year's budget to be tight.

"The judges in the county are all willing to cooperate with us in this effort," Latham said. Quorum Court member Junior Briner thanked the elected officials for their efforts to hold the 2008 budget in line.

"If we continue as we are doing now, Lawrence County will still end the year in the black," he said.

Also on Monday, an ordinance was passed necessary to establish the Walnut Ridge, Arkansas Rural Fire District (see related legal). A map depicting the proposed district is available in the Lawrence County Circuit Clerk's office. A board of five commissioners appointed by the county judge would be responsible for establishing plans to provide fire protection services for residents of the fire district.

A hearing on Dec. 23 at 6 p.m. at Wallin Flying Service will be held to adopt the ordinance. Residents of the district are encouraged to attend. The proposed district will not be established if a majority of the registered voters oppose its establishment. These individuals must appear in person at the hearing or file a petition containing a majority of signatures of registered voters of the fire district at or before the public hearing.

At the request of Sheriff Dan Ellison, funds designated by the state legislature totaling just under $20,000 were transferred into the capital outlay account to purchase another vehicle for the department. Ellison also reported that all other vehicles bought by the sheriff's department are paid off.

At the invitation of the Quorum Court, Evan Richey, 10, provided a 4-H illustrated talk on pet care. Richey won first place in the junior division at both the district and regional O'Rama levels.

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