Saturday marriage licenses to go on

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Carroll County Western District Courthouse in Eureka Springs is the only courthouse in the state of Arkansas that is open on Saturdays to issue marriage licenses — a distinction that will continue after the Carroll County Quorum Court approved a supplemental appropriation ordinance to increase security at the county clerk’s office.

The court voted 9-0 at its November meeting on Monday to approve the ordinance appropriating funds for the installation of a ticket window at the county clerk’s Eureka Springs office. District 3 Justice of the Peace Lamont Richie, who sponsored the ordinance, said he did so after learning that County Clerk Jamie Correia planned to discontinue the Saturday service. Richie said there had been “some situations” at the courthouse on Saturdays that caused workers in the clerk’s office to feel threatened.

The ticket window will have tempered glass and a slot for sliding documents. Employees in the clerk’s office will be able to lock the window should the need arise.

All nine justices of the peace in attendance at Monday’s meeting voted in favor of the appropriation. District 7 JP Noreen Watson and District 11 JP John Howerton were absent.

Also at Monday’s meeting, JPs approved an appropriation ordinance transferring $17,136 to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office to pay deputies for extra patrol of Beaver Dam. The money was received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The ordinance also transferred $4,994.84 that was received from the Arkansas State Police to the sheriff’s office for the deputies’ Step Program.

During the portion of the meeting set aside for JPs’ comments, Richie told his colleagues that a 2018 budget ordinance will be on the court’s December agenda. He also said the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the installation of a 190-foot communications tower at the Carroll County Detention Center. That approval will help facilitate the transfer of the county’s dispatch center from the eastern district courthouse in Berryville to the detention center. Richie said the tower will have to be painted and illuminated. He said the county can choose either incandescent or LED lighting for the tower, but indicated that LED lighting offers significant savings on energy and maintenance costs.

District 1 JP Jack Deaton said Holiday Island, currently classified as a suburban improvement district, is taking steps toward becoming an incorporated city and that incorporation could happen relatively quickly.

During the segment of the meeting reserved for public comments, Misty Rupert addressed JPs for the second consecutive month about what she described as excessive turnover and alleged corruption at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. She also alleged that in responding to her requests for documents under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act, the sheriff’s office provided information that should have been exempt from disclosure and failed to properly redact documents that it released to her.

Sheriff Randy Mayfield responded to Rupert, pointing out that Rupert was a CCSO employee under former sheriff Bob Grudek and had applied unsuccessfully for employment under Mayfield.

“I contend that her actions are 100 percent politically motivated,” Mayfield said.

Carla Mann, director of the Carroll County Senior Activity and Wellness Center, also addressed the court to describe some of the center’s activities and programs for seniors. While the center provides on-site meals and transportation, it also operates a Meals on Wheels service throughout the county. Last year, Mann said, the Meals on Wheels service provided nearly 18,000 meals. The center is contracted for 16,000 meals, she said, so the remainder of the meals are paid for through fundraisers and money received from the county.

“This money that we receive from you is very important,” she said. “I wanted to say thank you for it.”

In response to a question from a fellow JP, Richie confirmed that an appropriation for the senior center will be included in the proposed 2018 budget.

The court’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, at the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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