Contract with sheriff’s office, highway department for mowing recommended for approval

A resolution permitting the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to contract with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to perform mowing and cleanup work on Martha Mitchell Expressway was recommended for approval Tuesday by a Quorum Court committee.

The sheriff’s office Clean Team would perform the work from the stoplight at Market Street (U.S. 63) to the end of the curb and gutter median just north of the stoplight on Bryant Street and would receive the same rate of pay that private contractors have received in the past.

According to the agreement, the department would be paid $16 per acre for removing litter and $50 per acre for mowing and trimming work, with the agreement to run from April 20 to the day before Thanksgiving Day in three scheduled mowing cycles.

The Highway and Transportation Department agreement indicated that the sheriff’s office would receive just over $6,000 for each mowing cycle.

The agreement provides that the county is fully liable for hazards to traffic that might be created by the mowing, a fact Justice of the Peace Ted Harden pointed out when he asked Chief Deputy Sheriff Stanley James if the equipment the county would be using would be used safely.

“We’re going to be taking every precaution,” James said.

“The highway department is just covering their rear end,” Justice of the Peace Conley Byrd said. “They do that with all the private contractors.”

In other business, a proposed appropriation ordinance in the amount of $3,675 for the Watson Chapel Water District Generator Project was recommended for approval.

Last year, the county received a $66,000 grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to buy and install an emergency generator for the Watson Chapel Water District, and the appropriation recommended for approval Tuesday is the last remaining money from that grant.

Both the Judicial and Finance committees of the county’s legislative body also recommended two appropriation ordinances for the Sixth Division of Circuit Court (Juvenile Court) be approved by the full court when they meet Monday.

The first — for $53,000 — would establish a 2013 budget for the Fins (Families in Need of Services) and Truancy Program and the second — for $33,094.67 — would provide funding for a variety of programs in the juvenile court, including drug court and teen court.

That budget also includes $7,500 for miscellaneous expenses, a figure Justice of the Peace Mandy Alford described as “high,” and she asked Juvenile Judge Earnest E. Brown Jr. to look at that figure.