Quorum Court Discusses Finances at Monthly Meeting

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Members of the Clay County Quorum Court gathered at the courthouse in Corning Monday evening for their regular monthly meeting. With all members in attendance, the court approved an ordinance appropriating funds and adjusting the budget, discussed finances and heard an update from Judge Mike Patterson.

Ordinance 2018-11

After dispensing with the usual agenda items, the justices turned their attention to an ordinance drafted to appropriate funds received for reimbursement of monies spent in response to flooding and the related damages, earlier this year. The measure appropriates disaster funds of just under $74,000 and an additional $1,593.40 from WW Recycling and transfers monies. The complete ordinance may be found elsewhere in this edition.

The ordinance was placed on the first reading, with the court voting to waive the stipulation that it be read on three seperate occasions. It was approved without dissent, along with the accompanying emergency clause.

Afterward, the court members discussed the budget process and set a meeting of the finance committee. The committee members, David Cagle, Jody Henderson and Duane Blanchard, are slated to review the matter at a meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the courthouse in Piggott.

During the discussion of county issues, Cagle noted the general fund is very low and voiced his concern. “We're at about $470,000 in the hole, and that's not too far from cap,” he offered. “We're going to have to make some difficult decisions when it comes to budget time.”

A long-time member of the court, Cagle indicated it had been quite some time since the county had faced such a deficit at the end of September. In response, Patterson noted the county road department has made cuts, and should be solvent, with the issue being county general.

“We'll just have to see how things work out, but I think in the long rung we're going to be okay,” he surmised. “One way or another, we're going to do the best we can.”

Judge Patterson also updated the court on recent efforts, noting grant funds had helped replace two bridges and he hoped to acquire monies for others. Thanks to the funds, the county as replaced two of the aged wooden bridges with new steel ones, with the most recent effort in the Crockett community.

He also indicated that the road department was continuing to use gravel, as opposed to chat, in an effort save. “When we were getting the FEMA money and working on the roads we used a lot of chat, but we're having to go back to a lot of those spots and use gravel now due to the cost,” he added. “Some don't like it, but there is a big difference in the cost.”

Cagle also offered a word of thanks to Patterson for repair work done on CR 480, often referred to as the “cotton module road.” The road, located just north of Hargrave's Corner at the Clay County Electric Coop office, is utilized thousands of times each fall for the staging of modules for Grave's Gin.

“A lot of people don't realize it, but those cotton module trucks will make about 4,000 trips up and down that road during a season,” he added later. “We had two spots that had fallen in, and it was really causing some problems.”

Following his update to the court, Patterson inquired if any of the other elected officials on hand had anything to add. With no response, he made the same inquiry of those in the audience but no comments were offered. Afterward, the court members voted to adjourn.

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