QC Members Approve Audit, Updated on Projects

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Members of the Clay County Quorum Court approved the 2017 audit at their regular meeting Monday night, held at the courthouse in Piggott. The JPs also passed an ordinance which amends the 2018 budget, approved additional funding for the district court and were updated on recent equipment acquisitions.

The meeting was called to order by Judge Mike Patterson, and after dispensing with the usual consent agenda items the justices turned their attention to new business. The 2017 audit was presented for their consideration, which according to Patterson included no findings. Following a brief discussion the audit was approved without dissent.

The court next turned its attention to Ordinance 2018-08, which amends the 2018 budgets for county elections, county road department and the county clerk's cost fund. The measure adjusts the figures for all three, applying additional funds to each.

The ordinance was introduced, with the court voting to waive the stipulation it be read on three separate occasions, and was approved on a roll call vote. The accompanying emergency clause, which allows the ordinance to go into effect immediately, was also approved unanimously.

The justices then addressed Court Order 2018-31, which allows the Clay County Housing Authority to void several checks which have never been cashed. The JPs approved the order, allowing the authority to adjust their books to reflect the unused funds.

District Judge David Copelin next addressed the court, requesting additional funding due to the impending retirement of clerk Linda Dixon. Copelin indicated the change will cost an additional $2,780.54 in wages and $415.54 in Social Security benefits. He also noted half of the funds would be reimbursed to the county by the cities of Piggott, Rector and Corning.

“There is a good chance we won't use all of the funds, we usually have a little left over,” he added.

The justices approved the additional monies on a vote of 9-0, setting the limit at $3,200 to cover the shortfall.

Dixon is retiring from the job, but is still on the payroll as she had a good deal of vacation time accumulated. Copelin noted part of the issue was having three employees on staff while Dixon was training her replacement.

During his update, Patterson reported on the purchase of a new John Deere tractor and side-mount bush hog. He also reported that the Case tractor used at Corning was being traded-in on a newer model, which will cost an additional $63,000.

He noted the new tractor will have both a side-mount, and rear-mount, bush hog and will include a three to five year warranty—while the older unit was no longer under warranty.

Recently, Patterson broached the need for an additional tractor with side-mount bush hog, citing the importance of keeping the county roads clear for larger vehicles, including school buses and ambulances. The justices concurred that the matter needed more attention, and pointed to the safety issues of allowing trees and brush to narrow the roadways.

Judge Patterson also updated the gravel situation, reporting that the county has been hauling out of a pit along the Clay-Greene County line. “We've hauled out of this pit before, but now we're the only ones hauling out of it,” he reported.

He also indicated a local farmer was allowing the county to haul gravel out of a pit on his property, but only for use on the roads which are used for his operation. “Rick Little is allowing us to haul for that purpose only, but he won't sell it to us,” he added.

The rail crossings north of Corning were also revisited, as Patterson had earlier met with railroad officials on the matter of clearing brush which block the view of motorists. He noted several crossings were inspected, and indicated he felt all those between Corning and the state line needed attention.

The judge also reported that he had been contacted by a Knobel-area farmer about putting chat on the road to his operation. “He's offered to pay for half of the project, if we'll pay for the other half,” he said.

Justice David Cagle noted there has been a standing offer for years concerning such efforts, and indicated he would have no problem with the effort.

“We've said for years that if they would buy the chat we would haul it for them, which is about half the cost anyway,” he added.

Late in the meeting, Justice Duane Blanchard reminded the court members to review the draft of the new personnel policy, and then offer any comments or suggested changes at the next regular meeting.

The court members then voted to adjourn.

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