October 12, 2011 Edition

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Possible courtroom solution found

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

A possible solution for the overcrowded courtroom in Lawrence County was presented to the Quorum Court on Monday night.

The new Walnut Ridge Police Department, located on Highway 67B in the old Smelser's Plumbing building, is being renovated. Included in the plans is a 34-by-36-foot room designed to hold the Walnut Ridge City Council meetings.

County Judge Dale Freeman said he was approached and offered use of this room. The county has been asked to contribute approximately $6,000 to help furnish the room to make it usable for court purposes, as well.

Discussion among the justices regarding this option was positive; however, some concerns were raised about the need for a long-term agreement and whether it would be honored by future administrations.

Several items relating to the budget were discussed.

District Court Clerk Joyce Roberts reported finding more than $5,000 per year in savings for the county. Roberts discovered that the existing phone plan that cost an average of $645 every month could be replaced by a plan that is a flat $190 and will still serve the county well.

Roberts, along with deputies Barbara Eagan and Regina Robertson, were present at the meeting to answer questions regarding the recent move and budget needs of the Lawrence County District Court. Roberts also explained the services provided to the county by the District Court. Records regarding funds brought into the county through District Court were requested for budget purposes.

Appropriations to the road department were made to compensate for FEMA and NRCS reimbursements of $72,605.67 and $6,255 respectfully. A financial clean-up ordinance was made to amend the elections budget by approximately $4,000.

Ashley Burris, director of the Lawrence County Library, also explained budget changes necessary for the library. The budget for the library increased over $16,000 for the 2012 year.

Freeman also brought up a concern about the condition of the carpeting in the Lawrence County Meeting Room (located next to the library). Freeman reported spending $800 to clean the carpet without seeing any considerable improvement. Investigations will be made into the cost to change the flooring to tile or laminate.

Two resolutions were passed supporting grant applications. The Lynn Volunteer Fire Department is planning to apply for a GIF Fire Protection grant of $11,474 to update radios and pagers to support new technology, as well as a deck gun to provide for more efficient water coverage.

The Lawrence County Fair Board gained approval to apply for a GIF Rural Development grant of over $56,700 to replace the bleachers at the fairgrounds.

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