October 14, 2015 Edition

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County working to help Extension

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

Lawrence County Extension Service staff visited with quorum court justices again Monday night to request consideration be made while planning the 2016 budget to help the Extension offset a nearly $40,000 deficit.

The deficit is enough that if left uncorrected, the Extension will lose one of its agents and the 4-H program will be cut. This would add further strain to not only the current agents but all of Lawrence County agriculture.

The Extension is particularly vital in keeping farmers informed on changes in government regulation. "The extension is critical in teaching us how to do more with less," said cattle farmer Christina Spencer of Powhatan. "It keeps us educated and keeps us viable for the future."

Justices agreed that the Extension is crucial for the county and will work toward finding the money in the budget. However, the county budget is tight and several budget cuts have had to be made over the past few years.

Spencer asked the county to keep the benefits of agriculture to Lawrence County in mind when reviewing the budget. "The financial gains would more than offset what you see in your budget."

County Judge Dale Freeman said they will make the Extension a priority. "We are going to be working to get some money for you," he said to Extension agents.

Also at the meeting:

The Extension, in collaboration with UofA Division of Agriculture, has prepared non-biased information sheets for the upcoming sales tax election to finance a new county jail. These sheets will be distributed throughout the county.

Freeman informed the court that Arkansas Jail Standards has issued a two-month extension based on county efforts to build a new jail.

Justices approved a $2,700 insurance payout to the sheriff's office for use on repairs to a damaged pickup caused from hitting a deer.

Justice Junior Briner requested consideration for the Rails to Trails committee to become a functioning board, allowing the committee to take action on Rails to Trails issues. The court agreed to proceed in the necessary paperwork to make the change.

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