March 12, 2014 Edition

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Work continues on county policy


Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court further discussed changes to the county personnel policy at Monday's meeting. Justice Junior Briner informed the court that the committee has been reviewing the policy alongside policies from other counties to best determine what to change.

"Whatever you put in it, you better be willing to live with," Briner said at the meeting. He, along with Justices Lloyd Clark and Jim Jones were appointed to a special committee to review the current policy and suggest improvements.

The committee's main focus is on the county's comp time policy, and County Judge Dale Freeman and Jones both stated concerns regarding the dog handlers employed at the sheriff's department's and the comp time accumulated from dog care.

"We simply can't afford it," Jones said in regard to comp time being accumulated by the handlers and food and care for the dogs. The county currently has two drug dogs, which the justices nearly unanimously agreed was too many.

County Attorney Dick Jarboe said that since the sheriff's department operates on its own, the only control the quorum court has over it is through the budget. He suggested developing a more specific budget in the future with money set aside specifically for dog care.

A strong enforcement of county comp time policies is the other way the court can control costs. Justice Tracy Moore agreed that something had to be done to prevent comp time issues. "This has been taken advantage of for too long."

Also at the meeting:

  • Viola Meadows, president of the Clover Bend Historical Preservation Association, spoke with the court about damages to a wall at the Clover Bend Gymnasium. Paint was applied too soon after a wall had been pressure washed causing the 90-year-old wood to rot. The justices passed a resolution allowing Freeman to apply for a $15,000 General Improvement Fund grant through the Arkansas Rural Development Commission.

  • justices voted regarding an appropriation of $5,000 to the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Fund with four votes for, one against and four abstaining. The vote failed to reach the five-votes majority required to pass. Those abstaining did so because they felt they didn't have enough information about what the money would be used for.

  • the court approved two resolutions for the Lawrence County Fair Board to apply for grants to upgrade buildings at the fair grounds. One grant will be for $8,000 for new electrical wiring and another will be for $23,450 and will go towards a new barn for show animals.

  • a resolution for the Saffell Volunteer Fire Department to apply for a $50,000 grant was passed. The money will be used for turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatuses.

  • County Clerk Tina Stowers informed justices that insurance prices have increased by 8.3 percent for the county.

  • the court approved the 2012 legislative audit.

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