Quorum Court Handles Budget Matters

Thursday, March 24, 2016

With all members in attendance, the Clay County Quorum Court handled a light agenda during Monday night's regular gathering at Piggott. The JPs approved two ordinances during the meeting and briefly re-visited the issue of maintaining levees within the county. Judge Gary Howell also reviewed traffic flow matters related to the new Peco Foods facility at Corning. In addition to staff, and County Clerk Pat Poole, also on hand were Sheriff Terry Miller and Judge-elect Mike Patterson.

Ordinance 2016-05

After dispensing with the usual consent agenda items, the court members turned their attention to Ordinance 2016-05, which appropriated funds and amended the 2015 budgets.

The ordinance adjusted the budgets of all departments, shifting funds to address earlier expenditures. The justices voted to waive the rule requiring it be read on three separate occasions and approved its passage, in addition to the accompanying emergency clause, on a vote of 9-0.

Ordinance 2016-06

The next item for consideration was Ordinance 2016-06, which authorizes County Treasurer Carolyn Morrisett to transfer $1,800 in County General funds to the sheriff's department K-9 dog fund and amend the 2016 budgets.

The measure earmarks the funds for the future purchase of another K-9 for the department, with the monies to then be re-paid by donations.

Court members voted to waive the rules requiring it be read on three separate occasions and approved the ordinance, and the associated emergency clause, without dissent.

During an update on county activities Howell informed the justices of some traffic problems around the new Peco Foods facility, north of Corning. He noted the freshly-paved county road leading to the facility had apparently attracted drag racers, and indicated law enforcement was looking into the problem.

"We can set the speed limit down through there at whatever you feel is right, whether it's 35 or 45 or whatever," Howell told the court members.

According to Sheriff Miller, speed limits on un-posted county roads is 45 miles per hour.

The justices also briefly reviewed a discussion from the January meeting concerning a request by the Corps of Engineers. At the time the Corps, which maintains the river levee system in Clay County, had asked for the posting of signs asking for the public to remain off the levees.

"We've looked into that, and feel it is private property and we have no right to post signs," Howell explained. "The levees are maintained by the Corps of Engineers, and we're responsible for some of the upkeep, but the property still belongs to private individuals."

No further action on the matter was taken.

Following the meeting an issue from a previous meeting was clarified for the media by Justice David Cagle, a member of the finance committee. He indicated the incentive pay approved for all county employees in late December was later adjusted. Cagle noted three contract-labor employees had originally been included, but were later removed from the list of those receiving the extra pay.

Due to the fact they are contract labor, the custodians at each of the two courthouses, and the election commissioner, were excluded from receiving the additional pay.

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