Quorum Court allocates $340,600 for limb clean-up

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

BERRYVILLE -- During an emergency session of the Carroll County Quorum Court on Friday, $340,600 was transferred from the county's Road Department to a special disaster fund to cover a month's worth of limb clean-up from a late January ice storm.

The county' share of the clean-up is expected to cost $1.5 million.

The transfer was intended to tide the project over until the next regularly scheduled quorum court meeting.

JP Ron Flake said the county is fortunate to have cash to cover the expense until federal and state reimbursement funds kick in.

Ten crews consisting of one supervisor and four men each will be working the county roads to clear limb debris from the roadsides.

Even with the 10 crews, the job is expected to take months. He said one crew is averaging about one mile a day and the county has many miles of roadways to clear.

Flake also noted that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials, along with those with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) had been "very complimentary" of the county's plan to hire locals to do the work.

According to FEMA approved rates, workers will be paid $15.60 an hour, and supervisors, who will also be working, will earn $17.60 an hour, he said. There are no benefits and workers bring their own chain saws and other equipment. In some instances, chippers will be provided.

There will be several county crews, plus those with Barrows Excavation, Lowell Johnson, Cotton Bailey, Travis Evans, and the Mennonites.

The work has been divided up, according to boundaries drawn on a county map.

County Road Foreman Devoe Woodworth spoke to the JPs about the work ahead, and passed around the map. He estimated the job would cost $1.5 million.

By using local labor, Woodworth said he believed nearly all of the expense would be reimbursed by FEMA and ADAM.

Even the county's share of 12.5 percent could be met with volunteer labor and equipment hours, he said, some already on the books from a Mennonite volunteer effort that took place shortly after the ice storm hit.

County Judge Sam Barr said he hoped FEMA would write one check to cover everything, which could potentially happen, based on a Corps of Engineers damage estimate that is currently underway.

In other business, the JPs approved a resolution authorizing the county judge to apply for a $30,000 Arkansas Rural Development grant, on behalf of the South Carroll County Fire Department. The money, if awarded, would be used to assist the SCCFD with construction of a fourth sub-station in the Dry Fork area.

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