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Road work tops county’s 2018 plans

By Staff, 01/5/18 12:59 PM

12-30MARK GLASS 001

PRESCOTT – Working on improving the county’s roads is Nevada County Judge Mark Glass’s major goal for 2018.

The top project, he said will be finishing Hines Blvd. “The job’s taken longer than expected,” he said. Part of the problem was due to the condition of the soil, while the width of the road was another deterrent. However, he said, the state hired a dirt contractor and the road was widened to 20 feet with a culvert added to improve drainage.

“The Highway Department wants it to set over the winter and get packed down,” Glass said. “We should see work on it in late April or early June (depending on weather).” The road will get a double coat of chip and seal. Glass added this project has been ongoing for three years and is a state aid job. This means the state pays for 90 percent of the cost, while the county pays 10 percent. He pointed out the county has already paid its part.

Another project will be the new bridge on Nubbin Hill Road, he said. The county has been working on this project for a couple of years and is still securing easements. However, Glass said he hopes to “get the ball rolling” and get it to bid with construction starting later this year. The plans, he added, have already been drawn up.

“We’ll be looking to do more state aid work,” Glass said. “I’d like to do a couple of miles this year.” State aid helped improve Fairview Road and pave a mile of Wildcat Road last year. Glass said he’d like to get another mile done on Wildcat, and maybe a mile elsewhere in the south part of the county. But, he added, everything will depend on the state aid funding.

Otherwise, he said, it will be business as usual with the Road and Bridge Department crews, headed by foreman Kenny Ward, and shop foreman Steve Smilley, working to keep the county’s gravel roads passable. The county recently moved into a new gravel pit, he added, which should help the process.

The county’s Solid Waste Department, he said, is in good shape with two almost new trash trucks. The landfill and department are in compliance with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) regulations. According to Glass, Wayne Gourley, the supervisor, makes sure the county is in compliance with ADEQ regs.

The landfill, Glass added, should last longer as regulations allow solid waste to be piled above ground level before being capped, whereas before, landfill cells had to be capped when the solid waste was at ground level. He continued saying the landfill has spots for 11 or 12 new cells.

In discussing the Nevada County Courthouse, Glass said he and Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, are looking for money to make more improvements. One of the improvements, he said, will be to replace all the ceiling tiles in the courthouse. Other improvements include new flooring in the courtroom along with new seating.

During Glass’s tenure as county judge some major improvements have been to the courthouse, including new, energy efficient storm windows, a new energy efficient heating and air conditioning system, new more efficient lighting throughout the building and the painting of the interior. The changes, he said, have helped reduce the courthouse utility bills by around 30 percent.
Financially, the county is in better shape than it’s been in for years. The county general budget ended the year with $409,998.33, while Road and Bridge had $186,515.99 and Solid Waste had $25,855.35. However, the November and December bills remain to be paid from the county general budget.

There were years, he said, when county general was lucky to end the year with $9,000. He credits the new Nevada County Jail as one of the reasons for the county’s finances improving, saying it relieved financial pressure from the budget as several salaries are paid using the ¼ cent sales tax.

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