FEMA pays county for flood repairs

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Carroll County has received its first payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the repair of damage caused by heavy rains and flooding in April and May of 2017.

County Judge Sam Barr said the county has received $305,804 from FEMA in the last month and a half and he hopes more is coming. He said the county sustained more than $500,000 in damage.

Heavy rains battered the county on consecutive weekends last April, damaging roads and bridges and leading to one death when a Eureka Springs woman drowned while floating in Leatherwood Creek.

Barr said at the time that FEMA would pay up to 75 percent of the repair bill, with an additional 12.5 percent possibly available through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

In other businesses Monday, justices of the peace:

• Voted 11-0 to approve a supplemental appropriation ordinance appropriating $11,693.86 to upgrade the cameras and audio system in the courtroom of the Carroll County Western District Courthouse in Eureka Springs.

• Voted 11-0 to approve an appropriation ordinance appropriating $9,020 to the Carroll County

Historical Courthouse Fund. The money had been received in a grant for the courthouse fund.

• Voted to reject a supplemental appropriation ordinance appropriating $32,000 to the county road department for the purchase of a used pickup truck. District 3 JP Lamont Richie spoke against the ordinance.

“I think $32,000 for a used truck is a lot of money when we can get a new vehicle probably for less on a state bid program,” Richie said.

• Voted 11-0 to approve a supplemental appropriation ordinance appropriating $150,000 to the road department for the purchase of a tri-axle dump truck. Richie said the money was approved by the budget and finance committees before the county’s 2018 budget was adopted but was inadvertently omitted from the budget ordinance.

Before the court addressed its agenda items, Richie told his colleagues that Barr recently opened bids for upgrading the camera system at the Carroll County Detention Center. Richie said deficiencies with the camera system have been noted in the past four annual state inspections at the jail and the quorum court had previously authorized spending up to $200,000 to address the situation. Richie said the low bid for the project came in at $197,000. He said the state has approved the project, which he called a “turnkey job” and jail administrator Lt. Jerry Williams will oversee it.

In the portion of the meeting reserved for JP comments, Richie said Carroll County Circuit Judge Scott Jackson had addressed the county budget and finance committees earlier Monday about proposed improvements to the courtroom at the Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville. Richie said Jackson would like to replace the courtroom’s carpeting with rubber-based laminate flooring and repaint the courtroom.

“We told him that we would bring this to the quorum court on an oral vote to appropriate up to $10,000,” Richie said, adding that Jackson believes the cost might be less than that. He said the Carroll County Bar Association might replace the furniture in the courtroom as well.

On a voice vote, JPs indicated unanimous support. Richie said he will sponsor a written appropriation ordinance at an upcoming meeting.

Richie also said the Federal Aviation Administration has given the county approval to erect a 200-foot tower with a 12-foot antenna at the Carroll County Detention Center as part of the transfer of dispatch services from the eastern district courthouse to the detention center. He said the county is also looking into a leasing a Carroll Electric tower on Arkansas Highway 23 south of Eureka Springs near Arkansas Highway 12.

“It’s making progress,” Richie said. “It’s going to be a vastly improved system over what we have.”

The quorum court’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, March 19, at the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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