Quorum Court OKs ordinances to cover state grants

With no dissent, the Jefferson County Quorum Court on Monday night approved two appropriation ordinances to cover grants received from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

One of the grants, for $23,582.27, is designated for Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Activities while the second, for $42,279.09, is designated for State Homeland Security.

The county must pay for all purchases made with the grants in advance, thus the need to establish the appropriation ordinances to take the money from the county general fund with those funds to be returned when the state forwards payments after receiving invoices and proofs of payment.

In the past, those grant funds have been used to upgrade and purchase new equipment for law enforcement agencies and fire departments in the county.

A third appropriation ordinance that was approved transferred $16,838.80 that had been deposited in the general fund to the Office of Emergency Management. That money was an insurance settlement to cover the costs of repairs to an electronic highway sign.

Also approved was an emergency ordinance establishing and adopting procedures for all activities of the Quorum Court in 2013 and 2014. That ordinance is required by state law every two years.

Among other things, it sets out when committees and the regular Quorum Court will meet, establishes standing committees, and provides that all requests will be channeled through the committee system.

County Judge Dutch King reported that because of severe thunderstorms that caused flash flooding in the county Sunday, several County Road Department employees were called out to clean out culverts and ditches to relieve the water that was causing emergency situations.

On Monday, road department personnel put sand on bridges and overpasses and icy areas after sleet began falling.

King reported that department employees removed beaver dams from creeks on Island Harbor and Hooker Road on Monday, and removed trees and stumps on Whiteaker Road Friday, and ditching on that same road was completed. In addition, they started cutting trees back from the Mail Route Road last Thursday, and that continued Friday and Monday.

Because of the bad weather, King said the road department has not been able to repair any potholes or grade any roads since last Thursday, but plans to get back to its regular grading schedule as soon as the weather clears.

“Please be patient with us and we will get to every road as soon as we can,” he said.