Court hears about meat rabbits

By Staff, 02/10/21 10:52 AM

PRESCOTT – Rabbits were a major topic of discussion at the February meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court Tuesday.

The conversation began with Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office (EDO), telling the court the Nevada County Fair Association (NCFA) had applied for a $4,000 matching grant to build a new rabbit barn. She said the NCFA is working in association with Prescott High School, the Prescott School District’s ag barn and the 4-H. The grant would be a pass-through costing the county nothing.

Stacy Stone, county agent, said the focus these days is on meat rabbits. The school, he told the court, has eight does and students are wanting to show animals. The deadline for rabbits is late and  it’s a short-term, intense program. Last year, he added, 14 local students went to the Arkansas State Fair to show animals and as many as 40 could go this year. The current rabbit barn is junky, made from a couple of old carports and needs to be improved and expanded to handle the number of rabbits coming.

The court approved a resolution for the county to act as the pass-through agent for the grant.

In other business, Nevada County Judge Mark Glass said a court order had been filed to move water lines for the Nubbin Hill bridge project and there will be a hearing next week.

A littering ordinance was tabled to give the court time to go over it. Under the proposed ordinance, the fine would be $100 to $1,000 for anyone found guilty of littering in the county as it’s unlawful for any person to throw, place or otherwise deposit any paper, cans, bottles or other trash, refuse or garbage of any kind on public highways, rights-of-way in the county.

Jamie Hillery, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Chamber of Commerce,  said her office has been busy and urged the justices of the peace to submit nominations for Hometown Hero and Citizen of the Year for the 2021 Chamber Banquet. She added there will be a ribbon tying event on Feb. 17 for the Percy and Donna Malone Child Services Center in the old bank building.

James Cottingham was on hand to complain about the trash fee. He told the court he’d received a bill for his late mother and brought it to the county’s attention to get it removed from the tax roll. He also asked to be removed as well saying he always burns his trash as most of it’s plastic, which takes 500 years to decompose in a landfill, and he’d be paying for nothing.

Glass said if he lives at the residence in question he’ll be charged $100 a year for trash pickup, adding others claim they take their trash to the landfill.

Cottingham said he’ll take his complaint to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office for review.

Glass told the court the county is in need of a new tractor with a bushhog as the used one the county bought a year ago has been in the shop a lot. A new one, he continued, will cost $135,000 bu the county can get $37,000 in trade making the purchase price $98,000. He said the money wasn’t in the budget for this appropriation, but could be taken from the Solid Waste and Road and Bridge departments to purchase the tractor without using the CARES Act money or the county’s certificates of deposits. He told the court the county has spent more than $20,000 in repairs on the current tractor.

Chris Fore suggested buying a new tractor but using the existing cutter.

Glass told the court the county would get 12-15 years out of a new tractor and a used one comes with no warranty. He added the county needs four tractors running at all times to keep up. The court voted 7-1 to purchase a new tractor with $25,000 to be taken from Solid Waste and the rest from Road and Bridge.

Justin Hughes, jailer for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, said with the new reimbursement fees from the state, jailers can be given a 50-cent-an-hour raise without the jail going over budget. He pointed out the budget was $409,000 and the raises would make the projected expenditures $383,000. Because of COVID restrictions the jail is limited as to how many inmates are allowed, though the maximum capacity is 84.

Three employees would be eligible for raises, all sergeants. The court was informed it costs more to hire and train new employees than give raises to keep existing ones. The court agreed and approved the raises.