MINUTES

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT MEETING

2:00 P.M., MONDAY OCTOBER 11, 2021

 

The Sevier County Quorum Court met at 2:00 P.M., Monday, October 11, 2021, in the Sevier County Courthouse Courtroom with County Judge Greg Ray presiding.  The meeting was opened with prayer by Judge Ray followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The roll was called with the following Justices present:   Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – Earl Battiest and Roger Whitmore. Roger came in a few minutes late. Upon a motion by Roxy Stephens and second by Angie Walker, the Quorum Court voted to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting and to approve the minutes as emailed. A roll call vote was taken. Yes –Marilyn Archer,  Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – Earl Battiest and Roger Whitmore. No – None. The motion passed.

 

Committee and Other Reports

 Lori House, CEO of Sever County Medical Center was present to report on the progress of the new hospital construction. Ms. House introduced Stacy Dowdy, who is the CNO for the Sevier County Medical Center. Stacy told a little about herself and said she is very excited to be in this position. Lori informed the court that the hospital is now 68% complete. The hospital is expected to be complete by May 1. 2022.

Sheriff Gentry presented the members of the court with a copy of the department’s high-speed pursuit policy. He stated that this was drafted from the State Police according to state statute in 1987. There is an addendum at the bottom of the policy of things to consider in a pursuit. They are: if hazards to the officer and the public in the continuation of the chase are greater than those if the chase is discontinued; environmental conditions; if the offense is a misdemeanor, or non-violent felony and identity of the violator are known, the pursuit will be abandoned and they will address at a later time with the offender; if the officer feels that the offender is a juvenile, the pursuit will be ended; vehicles going the wrong way on a one-way street will not be pursued; pursuit will be halted if directed by supervisor; we do not ram vehicles; we don’t try to box them in; we don’t create roadblocks; we don’t shoot at vehicles or suspects fleeing vehicles unless directed to do so by Sheriff. Earl Battiest had two questions. (1) Do deputies in pursuit have to get permission from Sheriff to cross the county line? The sheriff stated that when pursuit starts the deputy contacts sheriff through dispatch and he is then in charge. The problem is that they may cross the county line before contact can be made due to proximity to the county line. Once they cross the line, the department in that county takes over the supervision of the pursuit. Our deputy will then stop pursuit at the direction of that supervising entity. (2) Does supervision monitor while the deputy is in pursuit? Sheriff Gentry said “Yes”. Either Chief Deputy Dowdle or himself are in constant contact. Angie Walker asked if there was a speed limit. Sheriff Gentry said there is not. It is determined by the road and conditions.

               

 

Old Business – There was no Old Business.

 

New Business

 

  1. The first agenda item is a proposed ordinance allowing the sale of county property ( election equipment). The ordinance was read by Clerk Akin. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Angie Walker to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the second reading by title only. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – Earl Battiest. The motion passed. Clerk Akin read the ordinance for the second reading by title only. A motion was made by Greg Wright and seconded by David Wright to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the third reading by title only. A roll call vote was taken. Yes –Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – Earl Battiest. The motion passed. Clerk Akin read the ordinance for the third time by title only. Angie Walker made a motion to pass the Ordinance. Greg Wright seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – Earl Battiest. The motion passed.
  2. Second, on the agenda is a request for an additional appropriation of $35,680.00 to the 2021 budget for the purchase of a replacement vehicle for the Sheriff’s Dept. for a vehicle that was totaled. Sheriff Gentry said he had spoken with the budget committee and they have decided to purchase a new vehicle next year. They are making necessary repairs to vehicles they have for the remainder of this year.
  3. The last item on the agenda is a proposed ordinance addressing loud and disturbing noise in the unincorporated areas of Sevier County. Sheriff Gentry read the proposed ordinance. Debbie Whisenhunt was introduced. She and her husband were present to give details regarding the noise problem near their residence on Bellah Mine Road. There is an event center in the area that is not agreeable with keeping the noise to a tolerable level. They presented a video with sound as an example of the problems they are having. They explained that they have talked with the owner to no avail. Angie Walker made a motion to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the second reading by title only. The motion was seconded by Roxy Stephens. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – Earl Battiest. The motion passed. The ordinance was read by title only. This was the second reading. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Angie Walker to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the third reading by title only. A roll call vote was taken. Yes –Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – Earl Battiest. The motion passed. Sheriff Gentry read the ordinance for the third time by title only.  There was discussion regarding municipal areas of the county that do not have ordinances in place nor law enforcement to uphold them. The sheriff states that this is a problem throughout the county, not just at this particular venue. The decision was made to go ahead with approval of the ordinance as is and have the county attorney address these concerns in an amendment to the ordinance at a later time. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Greg Wright to approve the ordinance.  A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Marilyn Archer, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – Earl Battiest. The motion passed.
  4. Judge Ray announced that there was a citizen who would like to address the court if there were no objections. No objections were made. He invited Ms. Lisa Atwood to come forward and address the court. She stated that she was lied to, verbally accosted, and taken advantage of by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Dept. She stated that the Sheriff’s department unlawfully seized property from her residence refusing it’s return. They said they believed it to be stolen and were going to investigate. She stated that to the best of her knowledge it was not the Sheriff’s responsibility to get involved in a civil matter. She explained that she came into possession of a gun when she bought a vehicle from an individual. The gun was found under the hood of the car. The person who sold her the car said it did not belong to him. Ms. Atwood contacted the Sheriff’s office because she wanted to do the right thing and make sure she did not have stolen property. She states that when the serial number was run it did not show to be a stolen weapon. Ms. Atwood says the prosecuting attorney’s office was involved. What the deputy told her was stated by the prosecutor was denied. She states she is getting conflicting information and when she tried to contact the Sheriff and officers, her calls were not returned. She specifically named Deputy Davignon, Wolcott, and an unknown deputy. She asked for a copy of the police report and that has not been provided. Coming to the Q.C. meeting was her recourse when she could get no response. She asked for clarification regarding the sheriff’s involvement with civil matters. Judge Ray stated that he would make a phone call to the County Attorney to see if he could get some clarification. The judge then asked the Sheriff if he had any comments. He explained that the person the vehicle was bought from was a convicted felon and they suspected that the gun was stolen even though it did not show up on the stolen list. He states that they currently have an active ATF search for the weapon. It has been traced back to the original owner, Baker’s Pawn Shop. It was given to a local school for a raffle. The gentleman who won the gun in the raffle sold it to another individual. This individual had five guns stolen. The sheriff says he now has one of his stolen guns back. Ms. Atwood asked if he had reported the gun stolen. Sheriff Gentry said he reported it after they did some investigating. Ms. Atwood asked if the gun should not have been left in her possession. The sheriff said that once it was determined to be stolen, she could have been charged with theft by receiving. The sheriff stated that they confiscate stolen goods and return them to the owners before the owner even reports them stolen. He stated that they took the gun due to reasonable suspicion and it has since been returned to its rightful owner. Ms. Atwood emphasized that she wants this matter looked into. Judge Ray said he would give the information to the county attorney.

 

Announcements

Tiffany Maurer with Economic Development stated that she had recently attended the International Economic Development Council National Conference in Nashville, TN. She also attended the Arkansas Economic Development Conference in Jonesboro; AR. Tiffany shared that Economic Development CCUA and FRIENDS have partnered to apply for a Community Navigator Pilot Program Grant. Last week she received a request for more information in reference to the grant application. She hopes this is good news in regard to receiving the grant award. She gave some information regarding the Four States Fiber Initiative broadband service that is currently being installed by REA.  There is a five-year build-out for completion with 5,000 miles of fiber. This will be an affordable alternative to current fiber internet.

 

Adjournment - With no further business to discuss, Greg Wright made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by David Wright. The motion passed with a unanimous voice vote.

               

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Debbie Akin

County Clerk

 

 


MINUTES

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT MEETING

2:00 P.M., MONDAY SEPTEMBER 13, 2021

 

The Sevier County Quorum Court met at 2:00 P.M., Monday, September 13, 2021, in the Sevier County Courthouse Courtroom with County Judge Greg Ray presiding.  The meeting was opened with prayer by Judge Ray followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The roll was called with the following Justices present:   Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore. Absent - David Wright and Greg Wright. Both came in a few minutes late. Upon a motion by Roxy Stephens and second by Roger Whitmore, the Quorum Court voted to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting and to approve the minutes as emailed. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore. Absent - David Wright and Greg Wright. No – None. The motion passed.

 

Committee and Other Reports - Lori House, CEO of Sever County Medical Center was present to report on the progress of the new hospital construction. Ms. House stated that sales tax figures this past month are still good. On construction update, Lori stated that everything is progressing well. Kenneth Currence asked if the contractor who defaulted is being sued. Lori stated that our attorneys are working on that.

                A report of EMS service was provided by Megan Mahan. This was a paper report as she has been deployed to Louisiana for hurricane duty.

 

Old Business – Hot Check Fees Report.

 

New Business

 

  1. The first agenda item is a request for authorization to transfer funds from the Covid Relief Fund to the Sheriff Dept. and Criminal Justice for retention raise approved in June meeting. A motion was made by Earl Battiest and seconded by Angie Walker to approve the transfer. A Roll Call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and Greg Wright. No – David Wright. Absent – None. The motion passed

 

  1. Second on the agenda is a proposed Ordinance establishing a new fund number 3407, for the Sevier County Medical Center. The one assigned earlier this year is reserved for Legislative Audit. The new fund number will be used beginning January 1, 2022 Treasurer Heather Barnes read the ordinance in its entirety. A motion was made by David Wright to approve the ordinance. Roxy Stephens seconded the motion. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – None. No – None. The motion passed.

 

  1. Next on the agenda is a request to transfer $337,736 from the Hospital Sales Tax Fund to the Sevier County Medical Center Fund for 2020 budget approved in August meeting. A motion was made by Earl Battiest and seconded by Angie Walker to approve the transfer. A Roll Call Vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – None. No – None. The motion passed.

 

  1. The last item on the agenda is a proposed ordinance adopting a Federal Award Administration Policy for Sevier County. County Clerk Debbie Akin read the proposed Ordinance. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Angie Walker to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the second reading by title only. A Roll Call Vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – None. No – None. The motion passed. Clerk Akin read the ordinance by title for the second reading.  A motion was made by Angie Walker and seconded by Greg Wright to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the third reading by title only. A Roll Call Vote was taken.  Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – None No – None. The motion passed.  Clerk Akin read the ordinance for the third time by title only. A motion was made by David Wright to approve the ordinance. The motion was seconded by Earl Battiest. A Roll Call Vote was taken.  Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent – None No – None. The motion passed.

 

Announcements - Judge Ray asked Clerk Akin to explain information that was handed out to J.P.s for October meeting. She explained that the Election Commission would like to sell some election equipment and purchase a newer version of the same. What was handed out is an appraisal from the Assessor. She further informed the court that selling now is beneficial as there is a market and some revenue will be available for the new purchase. If not done now, we would just be purchasing with no additional revenue brought in. An ordinance to this affect will be submitted in October.

 

Adjournment - With no further business to discuss, Greg Wright made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Roxy Stephens. The motion passed with a unanimous voice vote.

               

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Debbie Akin

County Clerk

 


MINUTES

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT MEETING

2:00 P.M., MONDAY AUGUST 9, 2021

 

The Sevier County Quorum Court met at 2:00 P.M., Monday, August 9, 2021, in the Sevier County Courthouse Courtroom with  County Judge Greg Ray presiding.  The meeting was opened with prayer by Sheriff Robert Gentry followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The roll was called with the following Justices present:   Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore,  David Wright, and Greg Wright. Absent: None. Upon a motion by Roxy Stephens and second by Roger Whitmore, the Quorum Court voted to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting and to approve the minutes as emailed. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

                Committee and Other Reports  - Lori House, CEO of Sever County Medical Center was present to report on the progress of the new hospital construction. Ms. House stated that sales tax figures this past month are the second-highest since the hospital tax passed. On the construction update, Lori stated that the sheetrock contractor has defaulted on his awarded bid. The next bid up is $800,000 more than the first. She stated that the attorneys will be taking the necessary steps to hold the original bidder accountable. Lori informed the court that the hospital would be using a virtual CFO through the Horn Group. There have been 17 applicants for the CNO position. She has narrowed that down to nine that she will interview by phone. Three are from Arkansas, three from Texas, one from Oklahoma, One from Louisiana, and one from Tennessee. After virtual interviews, she will narrow down to the ones that will come here for an interview in person. She mentioned that they are making decisions on equipment that normally would be done later. With Covid, the delivery time is much longer than before. The Foundation had a wonderful dinner and Lori stated that she appreciated all who attended, and especially Judge Ray and Steve Cole for cooking the fish. A Virtual Chief Information Officer has been hired. He works with Edafio and will work out of North Little Rock. He is contracted for 16 hours per week and will work on-site here in De Queen as necessary.

                               

Old Business – There is no Old Business.

 

New Business

 

  1. The first agenda item is a proposed ordinance approving a revised Sevier County Employment Policy Handbook. The ordinance was read by County Clerk Akin. She explained that this is the policy that was sent out to the Quorum Court over a month ago. County Attorney Kaylen Lewis has already looked over the policy and given her approval. A motion was made by David Wright to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the 2nd reading by title only. Angie Walker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed. Clerk Akin read the ordinance by title only for the second reading. A motion was made by David Wright to suspend the rule and place the ordinance on the 3rd reading by title only. Angie Walker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed. Clerk Akin read the ordinance by title only for the third reading. A motion was made by Earl Battiest and seconded by David Wright to approve the ordinance. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The Ordinance passed.

 

  1. Second, on the agenda is a proposed budget for the Sevier County Medical Center for 2021. The budget was presented. Clerk Akin explained that these figures are a composition of what has been spent to date and what is expected to be spent the rest of this year. A motion was made by Roxy Stephens and seconded by Earl Battiest to approve the budget. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

  1. Next on the agenda is a request to transfer within the Solid Waste budget; $30,000 from line 3100 Other misc. Services to line 3004 Engineering and Architectural Services; and $400 from line 3100 to line 3073 Lease Machinery & Equip. Judge Ray explained that this is for permitting required to expand the Solid Waste area. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Roger Whitmore to approve the transfer. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

  1. The fourth agenda item is a request for an additional appropriation of $20,000 to the Airport Fund, line 9999 Transfers Out. This is to reimburse County General Reserve for a loan in 2020. Angie Walker made a motion to approve the request. Greg Wright seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

  1. Fifth on the agenda is a request for an additional appropriation to the Airport budget for state and federal grant expenditures; $10,465 to line 4003 improvements other than buildings; $36,695 to line 3004 architecture and engineering, $95,588 to line 2023 parts and repairs; $342 to line 3040 advertising. This is all for Taxiway and Apron Rehab Project. A motion was made by Angie Walker and seconded by David Wright to approve the appropriation. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

  1. Next is a request to give County Employees a one-time Covid payment of $600 for full-time employees with at least one year’s service; $300 for part-time employees and employees with at least 6 months’ service; $125 for employees with less than 6 months service but more than 90 days. A motion was made by Roxy Stephens to approve the pay. David Wright seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

There were no further agenda items. Clerk Akin asked if the court would entertain a motion to hear 3 non-agenda items; Report of Hot Checks from Prosecuting Attorney’s office, A transfer and additional appropriation to cover Covid leave paid out, and a Budget amendment ordinance. Angie Walker made a motion to approve. David Wright seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

The first non-agenda item is the Report of Hot Check Fees. This was sent by Erin Hunter, Prosecuting Attorney. There was an error in the calculation pointed out. Clerk Akin stated that she would send it back and present a corrected report next month.

 

The second non-agenda item is a request for a transfer from the Covid Relief Fund 1005 of $45,676.20 to the various funds and departments that have paid out Covid leave pay. A spreadsheet was presented with the exact amounts. These additional appropriations will need to be approved. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Angie Walker to approve the transfer and appropriation. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

The last non-agenda item is a proposed Budget Amendment Ordinance for the 2021 budget. Clerk Akin read the ordinance. Clerk Akin explained that all items in the amendment are with prior approval of Quorum Court.  Greg Wright made a motion to approve. Angie Walker seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, David Wright, and Greg Wright. No – None. Absent – None. The motion passed.

 

Announcements  -  Judge Ray announced that Marilyn Archer has agreed to apply to be appointed to complete the term of her husband Mike Archer, District 7. Assessor Sheila Ridley announced that she will be needing to hire a deputy assessor. This will be to replace one who will not return after maternity leave.

 

Adjournment  -

With no further business to discuss, Roger Whitmore made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Greg Wright. The motion passed with a unanimous voice vote.

               

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Debbie Akin

County Clerk

 


MINUTES

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT MEETING

2:00 P.M., MONDAY JULY 12, 2021

 

The Sevier County Quorum Court met at 2:00 P.M., Monday, July 12, 2021, in the Sevier County Courthouse Courtroom with  County Judge Greg Ray presiding.  The meeting was opened with prayer by Judge Greg Ray followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The roll was called with the following Justices present:   Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and David Wright. Absent: Roxy Stephens ( Arrived later) and Greg Wright. Upon a motion by Earl Battiest and second by David Wright, the Quorum Court voted to dispense with the reading of the minutes of the last meeting and to approve the minutes as emailed. A roll call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and David Wright. No – None. Absent – Roxy Stephens and Greg Wright. The motion passed.

 

                Committee and Other Reports  - Lori House, CEO of Sever County Medical Center was present to report on the progress of the new hospital construction. Ms. House stated that she was happy to see sales tax figures after this past month. The total is 2.1 million. She has been meeting with the Horn Group and she expects to have a budget ready in the next week for the remainder of 2021. The Horn Group also analyzed the floor plan of the hospital to see if any minor changes needed to be made to help with the profitability of the hospital. A request has been submitted to make the suggested changes. The steel construction is complete and the roof is in progress. Senator Boozman came by the construction site. He was impressed with the progress and has pledged to help with CMS and Arkansas Medicaid. Lori reported on the search for a CNO for the hospital. They have a number of applicants. They hope to get a few more before they begin the interview process. Ms. House stated that she has been communicating with Baptist Hospital regarding ER coverage for the hospital as opposed to contracting with an ER company for this service. She said she prefers using local doctors in Arkansas who are already in ER rotation with other hospitals. On July 25th there is a Community Meeting by invitation to discuss the Community Health Needs Assessment results. The hospital Facebook page is up and  the Hospital Website should be up tomorrow. Earl Battiest asked about the sewer project for the hospital. Judge Ray stated that the biding process will start tomorrow. He also stated that we would need to start getting easements for the sewer lines.  The plan is to start breaking ground in September with completion in December. Cost is projected to be 1.5 million. This will be covered by Rescue Plan Money.

                               

Old Business – There is no Old Business.

 

New Business

 

  1. The first agenda item is a proposed resolution declaring a vacancy in the office of Justice of the Peace, District 7. Judge Ray read the proposed resolution. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Earl Battiest to approve the resolution. Judge Ray stated that he has reached out to Marilyn Archer regarding this appointment. A Roll Call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and David Wright. No – None. Absent – Greg Wright. The motion passed.
  2. Item two on the agenda is a proposed resolution authorizing the Sevier County Judge to enter into Contracts of Obligation relevant to the Sevier County Landfill and Sevier County Transfer Station with the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, Division of Environmental Quality. Judge Ray read the resolution. A motion was made by Roxy Stephens to approve the resolution. Roger Whitmore seconded the motion. A Roll Call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and David Wright. No – None. Absent – Greg Wright. The motion passed.
  3. The third agenda item is a request to discuss pay equity to retain jailers/meet compliance requirements.

Sheriff Gentry presented his request to give all full-time jailers and dispatchers a pay increase of one dollar per hour. He stated that he is struggling to keep jailers because they are leaving for better pay somewhere else. Earl Battiest who is on the budget committee stated that there are also compliance issues regarding the number of jailers required as well as how many must be male or female. David Wright asked if a dollar raise was going to be enough to keep employees from leaving. Basically, it is just a show of “good will” toward the employees. The general consensus is that we are hopeful that it will help in retention. Sheriff Gentry explained that the total of the increase with retirement, Social Security, etc. would be $24,632 for the remainder of this year. Circuit Clerk Kathy Smith interjected that she felt that all county employees should get the same increase because we are all struggling to keep quality employees as well as hire good qualified employees. Earl Battiest asked if we could hold discussing other county employees increase till later in the meeting. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Kenneth Currence to approve the increase for jailers and dispatchers. A Roll Call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and David Wright. No – None. Absent – Greg Wright. The motion passed.

  1. The last item on the agenda is a request to transfer within the Road Dept. budget, $8000 from line 3001, Other Miscellaneous Services to line 2002, Small Equipment. This will be used to purchase warning barriers to put on roads as necessary in emergency situations. David Wright made a motion to approve the transfer. Angie Walker seconded the motion. A Roll Call vote was taken. Yes – Earl Battiest, Kenneth Currence, Evelyn Keels, Roxy Stephens, Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore, and David Wright. No – None. Absent – Greg Wright. The motion passed.

 

Discussion regarding pay increase for all employees continued….

Earl Battiest mentioned that CARES Act money is available for hazard pay or other pay if allocated. He said he was sure counties all over the state and country were probably having similar discussions. He stated that in the budget meetings they discuss cost now as well as impact on the county 5 or 10 years down the road. Giving the raise now might be feasible but maintaining that 5 or 10 years may not be. He also mentioned that the Rescue Plan money is for specific purposes and a big portion of it will be used for the sewer system at the new hospital. He stated that this is not a slight on any employees. Everybody wants a raise and they may well deserve one. Clerk Akin asked if in light of higher sales tax revenues this year if the Budget Committee would entertain giving a better raise this year. Justice Battiest said they would consider it. He also emphasized the county benefits. David Wright suggested that the Circuit Clerk bring figures to present to the Quorum Court next month. Renea Bailey asked how do you know they will stay here for the pay. People aren’t interested in the long term, only what they can make on their check now. David Wright said “How do we know they would stay if we gave them a raise? We don’t”. Earl just emphasized that we can’t be sure about the future. We do have reserves but we have to maintain the jail and we will have to be sure that we can help maintain the hospital. Roxy Stephens said the Budget Committee is in a No-Win situation. They have to do what is best for the County and the employees.

 

Announcements  -  Tiffany Maurer with U of A, Economic Development, gave an update. She is currently applying for the Community Navigator Pilot Program Grant. She is applying for $1,000,000. FRIENDS has selected to have Arkansas Economic Development Institute complete a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Assessment to serve as our strategic plan. They will also complete our Hotel Feasibility Plan study.

Judge Ray announced that the Budget Committee will meet on October 5, 6, 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to work on 2022 budgets. Angie Walker stated that budgets turned in with an increase of $1000 or less will not be required to meet with the committee unless they so desire. This increase would not include salary line items nor capital outlay items. If JP’s not on the committee want to sit in, they are welcome to do so.

Clerk Debbie Akin announced that she had handed out a copy of the proposed personnel policy for the County. She asked that everyone look it over before the next Quorum Court meeting as it will be on the agenda for passage.

 

Adjournment  -

With no further business to discuss, David Wright  made a motion to adjourn. The motion was seconded by Angie Walker. The motion passed with a unanimous voice vote.

               

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Debbie Akin

County Clerk

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