Resolution on road equipment for county expected to be approved Monday

A resolution that authorizes the Jefferson County Road Department to negotiate with dealers and purchase equipment the department needs is expected to be approved by the Jefferson County Quorum Court when they meet Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Road Department Director Jimmy O’Fallon wants to buy a used paving machine and a used ditching machine, using money the county is expecting to receive from the new highway tax.

According to a letter from O’Fallon that was considered by committees of the county’s legislative body last Tuesday, the city of Pine Bluff has two paving machines, while the county has none since the last machine was traded for a chip spreader in April, 2012.

Pine Bluff has four ditching machines while the county has one, O’Fallon said.

A total of $102,000 in equipment the county is currently paying off will be paid in full by January, and in July the new road tax money will kick in.

During the committee meetings, County Judge Dutch King said the equipment will be paid for strictly from road tax money and no additional revenue.

The resolution received a do-pass recommendation from both the Building and Grounds and Finance Committees of the Quorum Court last week.

Also on the agenda is a resolution endorsing the L&R Distributing, which purchased SAJ Distributors, to participate in the state’s Tax Back program.

L&R completed the acquisition of SAJ earlier this month.

Documents filed by the company show L&R wants to purchase and upgrade the SAJ facility at 3017 N. Midland Drive, and add new equipment, creating 232 new jobs. The documents indicated that the average wage for employees would be $15.40 per hour, with an annual payroll after the upgrade is complete of $5.5 million.

A resolution from the Quorum Court is necessary for the state to refund sales tax money for businesses making a minimum $100,000 investment.

A proposed appropriation ordinance setting a 2013 budget for fish and wildlife conservation is also on the agenda.

According to the proposed ordinance, a total of $8,100 has been received from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission from fine moneys collected in Jefferson County during 2012.

The Jefferson County Conservation District will receive the funds for the eighth straight year, according to a letter from Tess Calhoun, the district secretary.

A proposed appropriation ordinance totaling $104,176.51 received from the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District for recycling programs is also expected to be approved Monday.

The ordinance provides that most of the money will be spent for parts and repairs to recycling equipment.

A memo from King to elected officials and department heads that accompanied the agenda announced a meeting to discuss the 2014 budget and operations will be held March 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Quorum Courtroom.

“It is crucial that we are all well informed of the current financial circumstances of the county and committed to working together to overcome these obstacles” King said in the memo. “We must be in agreement in how to survive, set achievable goals, and identify opportunities to to more efficient and effective with our available resources.”

Among the goals King would like to achieve would be to assume the increase county employees have had to pay for insurance premiums.

“With county wide cooperation and commitment, those increases can be absorbed by the county allowing our employees to take home more of their earnings next year,” King said. “We would only have to free up $149,953.92 in revenue to achieve this goal. There is even potential to exceed that number.”