May 11, 2016 Edition

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JPs vote to dissolve
Eygpt Fire District

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Lawrence County Quorum Court voted to dissolve the Egypt Fire District at Monday night's meeting.

The resolution passed originally had a section on returning taxes for services not provided to the homeowners but concerns about who that money would be owed to and whether services were provided or not led the court to strike that section.

The Hoxie Fire Department has been providing service for the area but the money being paid on that district went to Craighead County.

Since the money has already been paid out, Justice Jim Jones said it might be a situation where the Hoxie FD has to forget about the 2015 revenue and move forward in absorbing the area into their district allowing them to collect directly.

Lloyd Clark made a motion to pass the resolution but to strike the collections returned section with the understanding that a legal opinion will still be sought out.

County Attorney Dick Jarboe was not able to attend the meeting to provide his opinion due to an upcoming surgery.

Also at the meeting, County Judge Dale Freeman went over some issues found during the 2015 audit. One issue discussed was within the public defender budget. There are currently two public defenders working in Lawrence County but the court was not notified of the second. County Clerk Tina Stowers said she only received the budget for one but is now being billed by both.

Justice Alex Latham said, "We as a court didn't approve the second public defender so I don't feel like we should have to pay it."

The court will put in a request with the public defenders to meet with them and determine what needs to be done moving forward.

Another issue discussed was the overpayment for missed meeting to justices of the peace, who are allowed one missed meeting a year with no docked pay. Justices in violation agreed to withhold payment for the number of meetings they were paid for last year that they shouldn't have been. Jim Jones will have one meeting payment withheld, Kenny Jones and Donald Richey each will have two and Tracy Moore will have three.

In other business:

Jim Jones recommended that Freeman form a committee to review elected officials' pay. The court agreed and a three-member committee will be selected by the county judge this week with the understanding that he will be kept informed of all meeting discussions and recommendations. Jarboe had already informed the judge that he recommends ceasing longevity pay, which has been used in place of raises.

Freeman said the shooting range is nearly complete with a sidewalk still needing to be added. He said the plans didn't include an on-site bathroom but he would look into the cost of outhouses. The court discussed if additional liability insurance was needed for the range and will seek an opinion on the matter.

Marion McDaniel, who had asked to be notified of all public meeting held involving the quorum court, said he has not been notified even though he gave multiple ways of reaching him. "I feel like that is in violation of the freedom of information act," he said. Stowers said they are required to notify the press. McDaniel was informed that they had simply forgotten to notify him about the meeting.

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