December 28, 2011 Edition

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Freeman recounts
first year in office

County Judge Dale Freeman says he has been pleased with progress made in the county in 2011 and hopes to see some of that work pay off in 2012.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt
Gretchen Hunt

County Judge Dale Freeman is completing his first year as the head of county government and recently reflected on some of the things that have happened in 2011.

"As my first year as Lawrence County judge comes to an end, I would like to thank everyone for all your help," he said.

Freeman said the county was able to maintain a balanced budget, and he did not ask for any increase in the 2012 budget.

"Even with high fuel and oil prices, wet weather and flooding, we have managed to finish the year with our budget in the black," he said.

Freeman said he was pleased to be able to fulfill his campaign promise to purchase gravel within the county if at all possible.

"We have been able to do this, which has enabled us to keep the cost down," he said. "We are getting good gravel, with less expense because we are keeping the hauling costs down."

Freeman also acknowledged the Soil Conservation District for assisting with the expenses of county road repair after the spring flooding.

Economic development was a major priority for Freeman during his campaign and in his first year in office.

"Right now, we have more economic interest being shown toward Lawrence County than it has seen in 25 years," he said. "We have three industries showing great interest in locating in our county."

He said cooperation and a good working relationship with other leaders is necessary for progress.

"I feel I have a great working relationship with all the mayors and the Chamber of Commerce," he said. "I also have a great quorum court. Each justice shows interest and cooperation in all county business. I appreciate all these people. This is what it takes to move forward."

Freeman also cited the opening of the new Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority treatment plant and the hiring of Emily Hathcoat as grant writer as highlights of the year.

"The new water plant, which treats water from the Spring River, serves all towns in eastern Lawrence County, as well as the Lawrence County Regional Water District," he said.

Regarding Hathcoat, he noted, "Emily has applied for over $800,000 in grants and has received over $100,000 for the county."

Freeman said he has enjoyed his first year as county judge and continues to offer an open-door policy.

"If you have a problem, it doesn't have to be about a county road, we want to hear from you," he said. "I want to be the best county judge I can be and help as many people as possible."

He said he is looking forward to 2012.

"With everyone working together, I feel we are close to bringing progress and jobs to Lawrence County," he said.

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