March 14, 2012 Edition

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JPs vote against extra
funding for Chamber

Susan Johnson
Contributing Writer

By a 7-2 vote, the Lawrence County Quorum Court voted against additional monetary support of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Monday evening at its regular monthly meeting.

The court gives an annual $5,000 donation in sponsorship of the Chamber, and last year approved an additional $5,000 to help offset the expense of the salary of Chamber Economic Director L.J. Bryant.

Justice Alex Latham made a motion to continue the extra support. The motion was seconded by Junior Briner, however following a discussion, centered around Bryant's decision to run for state representative, justices felt the additional funding was unwarranted.

It was the feeling of the court that Bryant would be unable to do both jobs effectively and would need time away from his duties at the chamber to run his campaign.

Lawrence County Judge Dale Freeman said he wasn't attempting to tell justices "how to vote" but reminded the Court "a good working relationship" was needed in order to promote economic development within the county.

"We've worked on a lot of projects together," Judge Freeman said. "We need someone in charge of these things."

The majority of the court was in agreement that last year was a "one time deal" and opted not to add the additional $5,000 to the 2012 budget.

In other business, justices approved a resolution, which would allow the Smithville Fire Department to apply for an improvement grant.

Judge Freeman also updated justices on the progress of the peanut drying and storage operation being constructed near Portia, stating the project was "ongoing."

He said he had been working with the state highway department in order to prepare for the estimated "300 trucks" that would be going up and down the gravel road at the proposed site, as well as the owners of the railroad on the possibility of having gates installed to help eliminate any fatalities.

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