March 16, 2016 Edition

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County to assess elected
officials' salaries for 2017

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

With several elected officials not meeting the minimum salary required by the state for their positions, the Lawrence County Quorum Court had used longevity pay, which is paid out at the end of the year, to offset the deficit.

However, as discussed in Monday night's meeting, this is only a temporary fix and was proposed at a time when the county wasn't as financially stable.

Justices discussed if salaries were to be adjusted, if longevity pay was still appropriate. "I don't like longevity pay for elected officials, I feel it's wrong," Justice Lloyd Clark said.

The deficit could be handled in 2016 through longevity pay without having to adjust salaries. Another minimum salary requirement to take effect in 2017 will however increase the need for adjusting the salary for most elected officials.

Justices voted to meet minimum requirements through longevity pay for 2016 and to look at needed adjustments when planning for the 2017 budget.

Also at the meeting, County Attorney Dick Jarboe spoke briefly about issues concerning the Egypt fire district. The district, which is under joint ordinances between Lawrence and Craighead counties, no longer has a department active enough to respond to fires. Hoxie has been responding, however money collected goes to Craighead County.

Jarboe recommended tabling any action until more research is done and a plan with Craighead County is developed. He said a public hearing will most likely have to be held if the district was to be adjusted in any way.

In other business:

Justice Kenny Jones asked if there were any plans to recognize Randy Rogers for his service to the county. Rogers, who recently died, worked in the Lawrence County Road Department for 43 years. "He worked until the last minute," County Judge Dale Freeman said. Justices requested a resolution be passed at the next meeting and a plaque to honor Rogers be presented to his family.

Vickie Slusser, who had been named interim Lawrence County Assessor until Becky Holder takes office in 2017, informed the court that as assessor, her level four status was not recognized meaning the office didn't meet the required two level four employees. As requested, justices rescinded Slusser as interim and appointed Darlene Dobbs to serve as county assessor for the remainder of 2016.

Ryan Cooper, representing the city of Imboden, requested the county renew an agreement to assist in maintaining a building to house the Western District Revenue Office in Imboden. The city pays utilities, about $700 a month, while the county pays rent, $195 a month after an increase of $20 requested by the landlord.

If the building is maintained by local entities, the state pays for the employees. Justice Jim Jones said, "It's beneficial, otherwise the city of Imboden wouldn't be spending $700 a month. The city doesn't get anything out of that other than the benefits to the community." The court approved entering into the agreement.

Freeman informed the court he entered a new lease on two Mack gravel trucks. He said he was spending more to keep a couple of the older trucks running than the new ones cost.

Justices voted to reappoint the Rails to Trails Committee with the same members who have been serving. Justice Junior Briner had proposed forming a board for the Rails to Trails program but after corresponding with different officials, it was decided a committee would serve the needs of the program.

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