HI board challenges county over roads

Friday, August 21, 2009

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- Long unhappy with Carroll County's track record of road improvements in Holiday Island, the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners drafted a resolution at its Aug. 17 work session to challenge the county to commit its fair share of state turnback funds to the planned community.

Holiday Island is not a municipality in the county; it is a suburban improvement district and is technically an arm of county government.

Draft Resolution #200 cites state code ACA 14-92-236, which authorizes the county courts to turn over to improvement districts "that proportion of the road tax, as may be just and equitable, or any portion of the automobile or gasoline tax" for road improvements.

"Just and equitable" is the sticking point for Holiday Island officials, as they have long maintained that the disproportionately small share of tax monies coming to Holiday Island is not fair.

The resolution states that the Holiday Island population is 3,200, or 12 percent of the total population of the county.

"The District and the office of the Carroll County Judge have historically agreed to an extremely limited joint road improvement program in Holiday Island that does not comply with the spirit or intent of the authorizing legislation," the resolution reads.

According to actual cash disbursements and county-provided labor and equipment cash-value estimates by District Manager Kevin Crosson, the county has never contributed more than $20,000 per year to road improvements.

Last year Judge Sam Barr allocated $18,200 to Holiday Island and said he was "working on" some kind of "in-kind" services for this year.

"Here it is August, and we have heard nothing," Crosson said.

Crosson said the district typically allocates about 7 percents of its budget to roads, but would like to be able to spend 10 to 15 percent, or about $500,000 per year, to maintain chip-and-seal roads and pave several of those with asphalt.

The resolution requests the county to "commit to turn over, on an annual basis, either 12 percent or a 'just and equitable' fair share amount of all County funds received from the State of Arkansas County Aid Fund."

Based on state turnback funds coming into the county of around $1 million per year, were the county to agree to a 12-percent allocation, it could mean Holiday Island would see $120,000 to $150,000 a year from county coffers.

The board is scheduled to revisit this resolution at Monday's business meeting.

The board discussed recommendations of the Ad Golf Finance Committee but reached no consensus on a course of action.

The board also clarified specifications for a new fire department rescue boat to replace the current boat, which has a cracked engine block. Fire Chief Jack Deaton said he had obtained quotes for a new boat. Bid specifications will be prepared for publication.

In a special meeting held in addition to the work session, commissioners approved a change order on the road paving bids to add three road repairs: 125 feet of Suntop Lane, 215 feet of Appaloosa Drive, and 400 feet of Beaver Drive. Funds of $21,220 to do these repairs will come from monies left over when a successful bid by Hutchens Construction came in under the district's yearly allocation for roads.

Also on the agenda for Monday's business meeting will be:

* The second reading of Amendment #2 of Regulation 23-2002, which prohibits board candidates from campaigning on district property or placing campaign signs or literature in or on district property.

* A presentation by Sheriff Bob Grudek on his county traffic enforcement program.

* The mid-year budget review.

The meeting, open to the public, will take place at 9 a.m. at the district office at 110 Woodsdale Drive.

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