Barr says repairs from flooding may cost $500K

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Carroll County’s roads and bridges might have sustained as much as a half-million dollars in damage during heavy rains and flooding in late April and early May, Carroll County Judge Sam Barr told the quorum court on Monday.

Barr said he and county road foreman Devoe Woodworth, as well as other road department employees, spent much of Monday surveying the damage around the county in preparation for a Thursday visit from representatives of the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

Barr said he is optimistic that the county will receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could pay up to 75 percent of the repair bill. In previous disasters, ADEM has picked up an additional 12.5 percent of the cost, but Barr said that may not be the case now.

“We’ll have to work harder and smarter to not wind up owing some money,” Barr said.

Barr said the damage wasn’t confined to one portion of the county.

“Some places got severe road damage, and some are not hurt that bad,” he said. “We hope everybody will be patient till we get them back to where they need to be.”

Justices of the peace also heard from Dave Hoover, chairman of the Carroll County Election Commission. Hoover told the JPs that the state government is offering to pay half the cost of new voting equipment for the county.

“We received notice last week from the Secretary of State’s office,” he said. “What they are proposing, along with the governor, is that we can get some new voting equipment and they will pay 50 percent of the cost.”

Hoover said the county’s current voting machines are becoming more unreliable and that some new software isn’t compatible with the current machines.

“We’re getting to the point where those machines are going to start failing on us,” he said.

Hoover said the new machines are much more efficient, and can be set up to work at “voting centers.” That would allow voters to cast ballots at any polling place in the county on election day, rather than having to vote at their assigned precinct.

“With the new machines, it’s so much better,” he said.

Hoover said the cost for the new machines would be somewhere between $151,000 and $162,000.

In response to a question from District 6 JP Craig Hicks, Hoover said the new machines would not slow down the vote-counting process. District 2 JP Chuck Olson asked Hoover if the county’s existing equipment would be adequate for the March 2018 preferential primary — the next scheduled county-wide election — and Hoover said it would.

In other business, JPs approved a pair of supplemental appropriation ordinances amending the “2016 budget cleanup ordinance.” One of those ordinances transferred funds within departments and the other appropriated additional funds to certain departments.

JPs also approved the second and third readings of an ordinance adopting a revision to the county’s personnel handbook. The revision will allow county employees to earn vacation time more quickly. District 3 JP Lamont Richie explained that the move is a way for the county to provide an incentive and additional benefit to county employees at a time when pay increases are difficult to achieve. Richie asked that the ordinance be read for a third time and given final approval at Monday’s meeting and his fellow JPs agreed to do so.

The quorum court also approved a resolution re-appointing David Carlisle to a three-year term on the board of commissioners of the Western Carroll County Ambulance District. The resolution was not on the quorum court’s original agenda but was added at Olson’s request without dissent.

JPs also heard from Jim Mautte, a resident of western Carroll County who spoke during the portion of the meeting reserved for public comments. Mautte described loud music coming from an area known as The Farm, which hosts music events such as the recent Phunkberry festival. Phunkberry was held May 4-6, and Mautte said music from the festival continued into the early morning hours and could be heard a mile away or more. He asked JPs to look into the possibility of creating a noise ordinance for the county. Richie said during JP comments that he would like to look into the issue.

The quorum court’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, June 19, in the courtroom of the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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