Airport, bridge at Lake Leatherwood on quorum agenda

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

CARROLL COUNTY -- The agenda for Friday's meeting of the quorum court will include a presentation about the Carroll County airport and further discussion on an attempt by the City of Eureka Springs to annex the old bridge across Leatherwood Creek.

Also on the agenda is a request from County Judge Sam Barr to add a part-time position in his office. At the quorum court meeting on June 12, Barr said hiring a part-time secretary would make it possible to keep the doors of his office open at all times. He said this step would also provide more personalized service to the public.

The justices of the peace were sharply divided on the issue, and they deadlocked with a 5-5 vote. With the advice of Prosecuting Attorney Tony Rogers, Barr cast a tie-breaking vote to approve the new position.

Rogers later learned that a county judge has no voting authority under Arkansas law. Mayors and heads of commission can cast tie-breaking votes, but Arkansas law says the county judge shall preside over the quorum court without a vote but with veto power.

At the June meeting, JP Ron Flake adamantly opposed a new position, saying the quorum court had refused raises for existing personnel this year. He said a new hire would conflict with that policy.

The position would cost $6,600 in wages and benefits per year.

Carroll County Airport

Dave Teigen, chairman of the Carroll County Airport Commission, has announced his intentions to publicize the importance of the airport to the county. After making a presentation to the quorum court, Teigen and a committee of the CCAC will reach out to civic organizations and other groups to help educate the public about the airport's role in the local economy.

Teigen has invited the other members of the CCAC to attend the quorum court meeting. (See related story on this page.)

Leatherwood bridge

At the June meeting, Eureka Springs City Attorney Tim Weaver had asked the quorum court to help pay for a survey which would be required as part of the city's efforts to annex a bridge across Leatherwood Creek.

The bridge is located on a former section of U.S. Hwy. 62. A new bridge has replaced that section of the highway, and the state plans to tear down the old bridge unless the city or the county decides to take over responsibility.

The county has no interest in the old bridge, but it connects the park facilities at Lake Leatherwood with the ball fields. Without that bridge, anyone going from the ball fields to the park would have to go back onto the highway and across the new bridge.

Before agreeing to share the cost of a survey, the JPs asked Weaver to return with an estimate of the cost involved.

If the project goes ahead, the county will also have to pass an ordinance to allow Eureka Springs to annex the property.

Other agenda

* Further discussion will take place concerning the potential to remodel the basement of the courthouse for county offices.

* A county resident will speak about Carroll Road 152.

*The sheriff will report on comp time and saturation patrols.

*Grant money has been received to purchase equipment for the county's Department of Emergency Management.

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