Quorum Committees approve loans for road equipment

The Jefferson County Road Department is one step closer to getting more equipment after a meeting of Quorum Court Committees on Tuesday night.

Both the building and grounds and finance committees of the county’s legislative body recommended ordinances that will allow the county to obtain loans from Simmons First National Bank for the equipment, a used ditching machine and a used paver.

“Instead of one ditching machine, we will have two,” County Judge Dutch King said during the meeting. “We will have one paving machine instead of none and it will help us to get more work done.”

Justice of the Peace Ted Harden served as chairman of the building and grounds committee in the absence of Justice of the Peace Sissy Granderson.

Harden said the county will be paying roughly $58,000 per year for the next four years to pay off the equipment, and will finish paying off a loan for other road equipment that was bought in 2009. The remaining payment on that loan is $102,000.

In response to a question about what those funds were used for, road department employee Stacy Wilkerson said the money was used to buy a pot-hole patcher and a grader, which are both still in use.

Asked by Justice of the Peace Lloyd Franklin III if the county was considering additional purchases of equipment, King said that is a possibility when finances get better.

“This will get us a lot better than where we have been,” King said. “As for other equipment, you’ve got to crawl before you can walk.”

Also Tuesday, an appropriation ordinance setting an $83,821.68 budget for this year for rural fire protection was recommended for approval.

The money for the appropriation comes from state turnback funds from collection of premiums on homeowners insurance, and by law, must be allocated to rural fire departments based on population.

All three items recommended for approval will be considered when the Quorum Court holds its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Quorum Courtroom at the courthouse.