$500K in damages: Barr says road repair bill could reach half a million

Tuesday, May 16, 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.

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