November 12, 2014 Edition

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Sheriff to resign Friday,
interim appointed

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson has announced that he is resigning, effective Friday at noon. Dotson did not seek reelection in 2014 and incoming sheriff Jeff Yates will not be able to take office until January.

The Quorum Court declared an emergency at Monday night's meeting and appointed Walnut Ridge Police Officer Tony Waldrupe as interim sheriff until the end of Dotson's term.

Dotson has taken a position with Arkansas Tobacco Control and will cover 10 counties in Northwest Arkansas.

"It has been an honor to serve the residents of Lawrence County for he last 14 years as a deputy and as sheriff," Dotson said.

Also at the meeting, the jail committee reported that the six acres of land in Walnut Ridge that has been one of the primary sites considered for a new jail may have to be tested for arsenic in the soil. The land was once used to house a cotton gin, and records of a previous test of the soil have not been found at this time.

If records of previous tests can't be found, EPA testing may be required as an arsenic contaminated site cannot be used as housing.

Lloyd Clark, committee chair, said that the Black Rock School campus, another site being considered, is currently undergoing appraisal to determine its fair market value, however the court's preferred option remains Walnut Ridge, according to Clark.

The committee is on schedule to have proposals ready for the January Quorum Court meeting.

Prior to the regular Quorum Court meeting, the court met to discuss the 2015 budget. Judge Dale Freeman expressed unwillingness to support the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority as the county has done in the past.

The budget will be revisited at December's meeting.

In other business, justices:

  • heard from insurance company Infinite Benefit Solutions. The company proposed a consolidated plan for the county, which is currently covered by eight different carriers. The court tabled the discussion until next meeting to allow more time for research. Material on Infinite Benefit Solutions is available at the County Clerk's Office.

  • approved end-of-year bonuses and longevity pay.

  • approved millage rates for 2015.

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