Quorum committees to consider funding for recycling center


With the new Jefferson County Recycling facility nearing completion, the quorum court on Tuesday will consider an appropriation ordinance to cover the costs of operating the facility.

Jefferson County Judge Dutch King said in a memorandum to Justice of the Peace Edward Spears, chairman of the court’s solid waste/recycling committee, that all the operating costs will be funded through an E-Waste and Recycling grant from the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, so no money will be needed from the county’s general fund.

“Should any extraordinary issue of circumstances arise, we have revenue in our Recycling Resource Recovery Fund to use as a safety net,” King said.

At the February meeting of the quorum court, King said that because the recycling center will be open non-traditional hours, it could provide a source of part-time income for county employees. He enclosed a copy of a memorandum that was sent to all county employees in late February outlining the availability of those positions.

According to the memorandum, county employees would be paid $15 per hour to work at the recycling center, which will be open Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and nightly from 5:30 to 8 p.m., in addition to regular operating hours during the week when employees of the recycling department will man the facility.

“Considering the dedicated employees of the county have not been able to receive a raise or bonus for the past several years due to our economic conditions, we are making it a priority to provide as many opportunities for additional income for all our employees,” King said.

The proposed appropriation ordinance will set aside $60,000 from the E-Waste and Recycling Grant to pay for the part-time work.

In the memo to Spears, King said the new facility has also demanded a restructuring of existing staff. Alamae Harris, who works in the judge’s office, will serve as recycling public outreach director. She will select two assistants, who will be responsible for all promotions and educational education programs.

“These additional duties and responsibilities will require them to attend events before and after work hours and on weekends to promote and educate our community about recycling,” King said.

He asked for an additional $250 per pay period to supplement Harris’ salary and $166.67 per pay period to supplement the salaries of the two assistants, as well as corresponding fringe benefits.

“All of these costs will be covered by the Recycling Grant programs,” King said. “The attorneys for the Association of Arkansas Counties strongly recommend we include this in the regular salary slots to comply with Department of Labor laws since these duties will be in addition to their regular job descriptions.”

King said that by allowing employees to receive additional income rather than give them comp time to work at the center, the county won’t have to cover that comp time from existing county money.

“We will suffer either lost performance and productivity while people are using comp time, or should an employee no longer be employed, we will have to pay the cash equivalent of the accrued time,” King said. “Using very conservative estimates, the current comp time liability should be somewhere around $250,000 which is about one quarter of the balance in County General, “King said. “Right now we have the opportunity to provide all our interested employees with more income at absolutely zero cost to the county.”

Also on the agenda Tuesday is a proposed appropriation ordinance for $20,000 for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office to cover election operations for this year.

County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson said in a memo to King and the quorum court that the money will be used for postage and materials used for the elections, and was not included in the 2014 budget adopted for the office.

The quorum court will meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Quorum Courtroom at the Jefferson County Courthouse.