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Hempstead County Quorum Court Meeting July 27th

By Staff, 07/28/17 10:53 AM

HOPE –┬áThe Hempstead County Quorum Court met Thursday July 27th for their monthly meeting. As far as business was concerned the board passed two transfer ordinances to fund some travel for drug court personnel.
Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse updated the JP’s on the work done on county road 21/Melrose Lane. He noted the work turned out good and was finished ahead of time. He noted there is leveling on country roads 29 and 34. 29 is near McCaskill and 34 is near Bingen. The roads will sit about a month and then chip-seal those roads. Tyson will be curtailing most production for a plant expansion and the county will do some overlay county road 278. The judge also noted there is a temporary repair on Patmos Road where a culvert caved in. Judge Morse says they have drawings for a permanent fix to that road. He noted they have to get state permits to dig into the creek. The judge says they will probably put a bridge there as opposed to culverts. The county has applied for a $300,000 hazard mitigation grant and the plans are to use much of that grant to work on multiple sites on Patmos Road.
A citizen, Emily McDonald, attended the meeting and asked that her road be graded. A county employee said he believed it has been graded regularly but someone will check the road soon.
The JP’s looked at reports on county budgets at the meeting. Judge Morse noted the county’s total budget is over $18 million dollars and just over $6 million dollars has been spent this year as of July 25th. He noted as of the 25th, 66% of the 2017 remains. Sheriff James Singleton says 48% of his budget remains for 2017. Both numbers looked good after almost 7 months of expenditures.
Sheriff James Singleton noted he and the local judges are in the talking stages with the state on possibly turning the former migrant center on Smith Road off highway 29 north into a juvenile center. Currently the county spends about $100,000 housing juveniles in custody at a facility at Batesville. A facility in Texarkana can handle youths but it only has 13 beds and stays full. The Sheriff and County Judge are both cautiously optimistic about such a facility and have spoken with Governor Hutchinson about the county acquiring the property. Such a project would probably result in about 30 permanent jobs. More details are expected in the future.
The county designated a 1999 Yukon used for county errands as surplus property. It will be included in an auction at 10am September 2nd at the courthouse. The county will now use the 9-1-1 vehicle for errands.
Judge Morse noted he has spoken with county judges between Hope and Little Rock about those counties helping to fund the V.A. van. Several JP’s volunteered to go to other county’s quorum court meetings to ask for help on paying for the van and maintenance.
Judge Morse noted a committee has been formed to plan activities for Hempstead County’s 200th anniversary. He expects to have more to report after their next meeting August 3rd.


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