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Court approves lines of succession for judge, sheriff

By John Miller, 02/9/22 3:53 PM

PRESCOTT – Lines of succession for the Nevada County Judge and Nevada County Sheriff were approved by the Nevada County Quorum Court at its February meeting Tuesday evening.

This was done at the request of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). What this does is designate who’s in charge should the county judge or sheriff be incapable of executing their duties. It also includes those to follow should the first option not be available or able to take over. Should the county judge not be able to do the job, the Nevada County Clerk would be next in line, followed by the OEM and Nevada County Assessor.

In the case of the sheriff, the chief deputy would be first, followed by the investigator and sergeant of patrol.

This has only been required once, when former Judge John Barham died in office.

The only other action taken by the court was to approve the annual hot check report from the 8th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

The court discussed how things were going at the Nevada County Jail. Justice of the Peace Pat Grimes told the panel she’d called to see how the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department was doing financially and informed overtime is down, but food costs are up.

Nevada County Judge Mark Glass informed the court he’d met with Nevada County Sheriff Danny Martin and the two agreed to have Hendry Oil provide a 1,000 gallon fuel tank for the NCSO. Glass said the county can usually get gasoline for 30 cents a gallon less buying in bulk over retail costs. However, he pointed out, no steady price can be set for gas as the price fluctuates so rapidly.

Hendry Oil will provide the tank with the county providing the pump and cable. The tank will be locked up when not in use, and a log will be kept of officers filling up their patrol vehicles. The tank and pump will be under a video camera to make sure no one steals gas. Glass said the NCSO normally used around 800 gallons a month, adding the county doesn’t want to drain the tank dry before having it refilled.

Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, reminded the court the Nevada County Extension Service will be hosting a statewide high school agriculture judging contest Friday. Several events will be held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, with other events held across the county, including Prescott High School and the University of Arkansas Extension Service. A hospitality room will be set up with lunch provided by the Farm Credit. She said the Extension Service wants to make this an annual event, as around 700 students from across the state, including one college, will be coming to Prescott for the competition.

She also told the court her office had finished paperwork and sent it in to the Department of Finance and Administration, with the county receiving $21,400 in Covid funds.

Glass provided an update on the Nubbin Hill project, saying he’s talked to the contractor and put a culvert where equipment will be kept. However, he said, no preconstruction conference has been held yet by the Department of Transportation. Kent Hendrix won the bid for the project.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ben Hale provided an update on the Falcon Cemetery situation. He said he’s talked to those involved, adding the part of the cemetery in question is less than two acres. Overall, the cemetery is on two sides of the road, with the Falcon Cemetery Association (FCA) providing maintenance. However, the FCA wants to put a fence around the cemetery, but can’t as the two acres are privately owned, with the owner being unwilling, at this time, to part with it. Hale said the land has little, if any value, and, as a cemetery, could have negative value. He told the court there are statutes dealing with similar issues and process issues involved. The owner can request a hearing and it could come before the quorum court.

Hale said this likely won’t be necessary if he can meet with the owner, but the court could declare the land public property as the cemetery is more than 50 years old – it was established in 1880. The owner, he continued, doesn’t have many options and can’t do anything with the land as the cemetery is full. The FCA only wants to preserve and maintain the cemetery, he told the court.