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County getting disaster relief funds from state soon

By Staff, 11/6/19 9:58 AM

PRESCOTT – November’s meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court didn’t last long.

The meeting ended roughly 30 minutes after it began.

It opened with Nevada County Judge Mark Glass reminding the court 2019 has been a rough year for the county’s Road and Bridge Department. He told the panel the department ended October with $58,000 in its budget. But, he continued, there’s good news on the horizon as the state is working on the two weather-related disasters the county suffered through. He said the county will get $69,000 for the first disaster and should get $125,000 for the second.

Glass pointed out the total spent on the second disaster was $360,000, but the state will only reimburse the county for 35 percent of this amount. He said the county would have gotten more had the disaster been declared a national emergency. Regardless, these funds will help the department get back where it needs to be by the end of the year.

He told the court the lease on one of the county’s graders is expiring. Glass said the lease on this particular grader was extended three years ago because Caterpillar didn’t have a similar one at the time, but this grader has been down the last two weeks. The court approved letting this grader go back and leasing a new model with 100 percent warranty.

Glass was asked how many graders the road and bridge crew has. He said the county has six graders, owning three and leasing three others. At any given time five of these graders are in use, with the sixth in use if it’s required. He said if the county wanted to purchase one of the leased graders after the lease expires, it would get a good price on it, adding the new lease will be about $100 more than previous leases.

A budget committee was appointed to develop the 2020 budget. The committee is Bob Cummings, Pat Grimes and Willie Wilson. The panel’s first meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Nov. 19.

The court approved a resolution recognizing the name change for the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. This was done because the county has a contract with the agency, which is now simply the Department of Environmental Quality.

It approved a budget for the grant received by the Laneburg Volunteer Fire Department of more than $14,000. These funds will be used to build a new fire station.

Nevada County Clerk Julie Oliver said the county is working on a $50,000 grant for courtroom improvements. If approved, the courtroom will get new seating for the audience and jury, along with new carpet throughout. This, she said, is a federal grant with no matching funds required. If approved, the current seating will be removed and replaced with benches for those attending court, while new chairs will be purchased for the jury box. The court approved a resolution allowing the county to apply for the grant.

The county will seek bids for these improvements, though it is likely the benches will be constructed by inmates in the Arkansas Department of Correction.

This grant is through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC). Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said the city is also applying for one of these grants and didn’t want to see the city and county competing for the same funds. However, she couldn’t say why the city was applying for a grant.

The panel also approved a resolution for all millage rates for cities, communities and school districts in the county.