August 12, 2009 Edition

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Court hears update on
Intermodal Authority

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

Milton Smith reported to the Quorum Court Monday night on the progress being made with the NEA Intermodal Authority.

Establishing the authority is a long-term project that is designed to attract industry to Lawrence and Randolph County areas by utilizing the railroad, airport and highways.

To date the board of directors for the authority has reviewed presentations from over six firms that responded to an advertisement for a consulting firm. The 18 board members decided to hire Crafton Tull and Sparks, a consulting and engineering firm, based out of Rogers.

This firm will be responsible for not only engineering work on the project, but also for grant writing and guiding long-range planning to progress the goals of the NEA Intermodal Authority. Smith said that he anticipated a signed agreement with this agency by the end of August.

Justice Junior Briner stated that the land purchase from the Children's Shelter is now complete. The county has made the $12,000 down payment and will now make payments totaling just over $900 per month. It is anticipated that the sheriff's department will soon move equipment to the newly purchased lot to allow for more parking in the parking lot at the courthouse.

In response to Act 229 of the 2009 legislative session, both County Judge Alex Latham and Lawrence County Sheriff Dan Ellison were required to identify a line of interim succession for their offices in case of emergency until such time that the Quorum Court could appoint a successor. This process would allow for uninterrupted leadership in these positions due to death or disability.

The interim succession for the county judge's office is: first, county judge's administrative assistant; second, Lawrence County road foreman; and third, director of the Office of Emergency Management.

The interim succession for the county sheriff's office is: first, chief deputy; second, senior criminal investigator; and third, criminal investigator. This action was approved by a resolution from the Quorum Court.

Legislation was also passed by state legislators that increased the salary of the Lawrence County District Court Judge from $35,000-$50,000 to $50,000-$60,000 annually. Payment of the salary is to be split equally between the City of Walnut Ridge and Lawrence County. The Quorum Court appropriated $6,000 to cover the difference in the salary.

In other business, Ellison told the court that, as of last Thursday, the new communications tower is now up and running.

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