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Logging, spending discussed by NCQC

By Staff, 05/10/17 2:06 PM


PRESCOTT – Ordinances on logging and spending were discussed at the May meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court Tuesday evening, while the limit the Nevada County Judge can spend without court approval was changed to $20,000.

George Smith, Justice of the Peace for District 8, proposed an ordinance which would require logging companies to buy a $50 permit for each tract of land being logged. This, he said, would allow the county to keep up with areas being logged and generate $8,000 to $10,000 annually.

Logging companies, he said, are still tearing up county roads and this would allow the county to know where logging is being done.

There was some discussion concerning what is being done when loggers are found to be damaging county roads. Nevada County Judge Mark Glass said these companies are asked to pay for the repairs or they’re shut down.

Smith admitted the Nevada County Road Foreman, Kenny Ward, has been checking on logging companies, but said there are loggers who come to Nevada County when its wet and they’re not allowed to log elsewhere.

Ward told the court most loggers agree to haul rock and gravel in to fix damage to county roads, but there are some who won’t.

Christi McQueen, Eighth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, said the question is whether it’s criminal or civil liability with the loggers. Who, she asked, would assess the damage and when it was done. She told the court there are a lot of issues involved in trying to prove who did the damage and how much damage was done.

JP Bob Cummings said he was against the permit, adding loggers aren’t the only ones tearing up county roads. He proposed a fine be imposed on loggers who damage roads, with the fine money being earmarked for the Road and Bridge Department to go for repairs. The fines, he suggested, would be increased with each offense by individual loggers.

McQueen pointed out there’s still the problem of proving who caused the damages, adding photos don’t show the true extent of damage done.

Cummings pointed out Hempstead County has fines starting at $1,500 for loggers who don’t repair roads they damage. Smith moved to implement the permit fee, only to see it die for lack of a second.

From there Smith talked about the need for the county to be more responsible in its spending. He said the county recently bought a used road grader for $122,000, when the business the county bought it from only paid $92,000 for it. He said the grader was promoted as being a 2013 model, but was actually a 2012 model. Smith also talked about a new truck the court approved buying for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office for $52,000, when it could have been bought for less. He added, the court was told the account the truck would be paid for with had $100,000, but actually only had $57,000 and those funds were earmarked for other vehicle payments.

“If we don’t have it, we shouldn’t spend it,” he said. Smith also suggested the Nevada County Judge appoint a three-person committee to look into equipment purchases made the last three years as well as looking into leasing equipment as a way to possibly save money.

It was pointed out the county took bids on the grader and went with the lowest bid, which was $122,000. Smith was also told the vehicle in question for the NCSO wouldn’t cost $52,000, but would run around $34,000.

He then suggested the amount the judge could spend without court approval be set at $7,000 and was told the court would be constantly meeting in special session if that happened. Cummings said the judge was currently allowed to spend as much as $100,000 without court approval, and suggested the limit be reduced to $20,000. The court agreed.

In other business, the court approved appropriations of $3,850 for the Nevada County Extension Service for air conditioning work, and $7,000 for a new vehicle for the Nevada County Jail from the state redistribution center.

Cummings said the court needed to address the need for improving floors and painting the walls at the Nevada County Health Unit. Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said she’d met with State Rep. David Fielding and was told the governor has zeroed out funding for this type of grants. She told the court, NCHU Administrator Debbie Henderson is looking into a grant from the Arkansas Department of Health to get this work done. It was suggested to get estimates on how much the work will cost, as well.




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