Bi-County Jail Proposal Dropped
By Connie Las Schneider
The start of the Franklin County Quorum Court meeting was somber Thursday as Justice David Bowles led the Justices in prayer for former Justice Paul Shaffer, who died on Monday June 9th and was buried the same day as the meeting. Schaffer was a Justice for District 1 and served in this position for six years. As Bowles, his fellow Justices and city officials at the meeting agreed, he will be greatly missed.
In regular business, Justices learned the bi-county jail plan has been dropped. When a question about the progress of the jail committee was brought up, former Judge Joe Powel answered that he thought the (bi-county) " was a dead issue", which seemed to please some audience members from south Franklin County who traveled up to the Ozark Courthouse for this meeting out of concern for the location of the proposed jail.
The meeting also covered two proposals, two resolutions, a General Ordinance and an Appropriation Ordinance. One proposal was tabled and one will have an ordinance drawn up for a vote at next month’s meeting. Both resolutions and ordinances passed unanimously 7/0. Justice Freddy Ree was the only absence.
Proposal A proposal by the Franklin County Collector’s Office to purchase property at 215 Main Street,(the old Main Street Lounge) located behind the County Courthouse on Main St. between the County Assessor’s Office and the Ozark Spectator. This proposal was tabled so it could be further studied. A two person committee of Garrett Shepherd and Rusty Cagle, who had once owned the building in question, was appointed by Judge Janet Powell to investigate the proposal.
Franklin County Collector-Elect Amy Harris sent a letter to the Court outlining her proposal which included the need for more office and storage space for the Treasurer’s office and the Circuit Clerk’s office. She also said this location would be safer for resident to access and more convenient since this building is on the street next door to the Revenue and Assessor’s Office where her department has daily business.
A second proposal by Franklin County Judge Administrative Assistant, Cheryl Warden asking the Quorum court to help pay for a Leadership Franklin County class given at Arkansas Tech University; a class she plans to take now that she has graduated from Arkansas Tech University. "The cost of the class is $500. I am asking for $400 and will put that in the ordinance for next month and also include this in next year’s budget. I want this to be an ongoing opportunity for one Franklin County Employee each year.
The Resolution to approve the appointment of Larry Dillard to a vacancy on the Ozark-Franklin County Airport Commission was unanimously approved.
A Resolution to apply for a grant on behalf of the Vesta Community to build a new community center was also unanimously approved.
General Ordinance 2014-7, containing a new Nepotism clause will go into effect August 1, 2014. A General Ordinance usually takes three separate reading before it can be passed and since not all Justices had the most recent updates, the motion to put this ordinance on second and third reading by title only did not pass unanimously. However, once the assurance that the Nepotism clause would be immediately added to the Policy and that county employees would be notified of the changes, the Ordinance passed by a vote of 7/0. Copies of the policy will also be available to read at the County Clerk’s office.
Appropriation Ordinance 2014-18 will beef up security at the Ozark and Charleston County Courthouses thanks to a $14,600 grant from the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Security and Emergency Preparedness. While both courthouses now have panic buttons in place in case of an emergency, the grant will provide extra safety for county employees.
The dirt work has started on the new EMS building to better serve south Franklin County. The project is expected to cost approximately $400,000 said Powell.
Powell also said nothing further has been heard from the Architect on the Mercy Hospital awning project.
When asked about the grant for the Charleston County Courthouse, Powell said he thought it was good news, but had not received official word yet.