Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

No bonuses for QC this year

By Staff, 12/9/20 9:53 AM

PRESCOTT – There will be no bonuses for members of the Nevada County Quorum Court this Christmas.

It was pointed out, at the December meeting of the court Tuesday evening, this is now illegal under Arkansas law. Under the law, lump sum bonuses aren’t allowed. However, justices of the peace are to be paid for per diem meetings, as long as the amount doesn’t exceed $8,734 a year in counties with populations less than 70,000. Basically, this means JPs are to be paid a monthly stipend for the meetings, and an extra stipend for any special or called meetings. Generally, though, the only special meetings are for members of the budget committee at the end of the year.

While the JPs won’t be getting anything extra for Christmas this year, county employees will receive a bonus. Full-time workers will get $600, while part-timers will receive $300. All employees of less than six months will get a bonus pro-rated based on how long they’ve been with the county. JP Pat Grimes asked if Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, would be getting a bonus. He was told she would as she’s considered a county employee because the county pays part of her salary. Fore asked if Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce would be getting one as well and was informed she wouldn’t. Nevada County Judge Mark Glass said Godwin was receiving the bonus because of the work she did to help the county get CARES Act funding, which helped the jail. This is to be a one-time bonus.

The court approved a budget for 2021, with roughly $1.8 million in county general, $1.3 million in road and bridge, $554,000 for solid waste, and $876,000 for the Nevada County Jail. These figures include bonuses for employees next year as well. Jailers will be getting a 50 cent an hour raise, while the head jailers will get 75 cents an hour more. Crews with the road and bridge department will be getting raises of 25 cents an hour as well.

In other business, County Agent Stacy Stone said the extension office is pushing soil testing as this is a slow time for the department. He reminded the court this is a free service and the extension office will provide recommendations on how best to use the land based on the test results.

Hayley Rice, over 4-H, said the 4-H partnered with the extension homemakers and Nevada County Master Gardeners on a food drive and collected more than 500 pounds of canned food and more than $1,000 in cash for the local food bank.

Hillery, in her report to the court, said the Chamber has been working hard over the last few months with the festival and Chamber banquet and is now in the process of updating the 2021 business directory. The Chamber, she added, is also sponsoring a shop local campaign this holiday season, urging people to visit local businesses for their Christmas shopping needs. Information on businesses is being posted on social media with a different business sponsored each day.

She reminded the court there will be a drive-through retirement reception for Dr. Charles Vermont from 2-3 p.m. Thursday.

Nevada County Judge Mark Glass said there’s no update on the Nubbin Hill Bridge project at this time, but it’s in the hand of the county attorney. He pointed out the county received $475,955.55 in CARES Act funds with the help of the EDO and other county officials who helped write the grant. Part of this money will be used to make sure no department ends the year in the red, while some could be placed in certificate of deposits to earn interest.

Ashley Isley, jail supervisor, told the court the jail currently houses 42 inmates and the amount coming in from other counties has been rising consistently. She pointed out the jail has a quarantine area for incoming inmates who aren’t released into the general population until their quarantine is lifted and they show no signs of COVID-19.

The court was told the state will allow jails to operate at 70 percent capacity, and, if sales tax collections continue increasing, the bond for the jail could be paid off in 2028 or 2030, at which time 3/4 of the sales tax passed for the facility will be retired under the sunshine clause, while a 1/4 cent will remain for maintenance and operation of it.