JPs approve resolution on crisis stabilization unit

Friday, July 26, 2019

Carroll County News

The Carroll County Quorum Court had a rare split decision at its July meeting.

By a 6-5 vote, the court approved a proposed ordinance that would allow County Judge Sam Barr to enter into an interlocal agreement with Washington County regarding a crisis stabilization unit that would provide an alternative to jail for individuals with mental health issues.

The Northwest Arkansas Crisis Stabilization Unit opened in June in Fayetteville. The agreement with Washington County would allow the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office to transport individuals to the crisis stabilization unit when it believes that is appropriate.

The issue had come up at the quorum court’s June meeting, when JPs voted to table it to allow more time to research the matter.

District 1 Justice of the Peace Jack Deaton described the crisis stabilization unit as “another tool that the sheriff can use if he wants to.”

Sheriff Jim Ross said most of his questions had been answered to his satisfaction. He noted that Carroll County will not be responsible for picking up individuals after their maximum 72-hour hold at the crisis stabilization center has expired.

Voting in favor of the proposed ordinance were Deaton, District 2 JP Chuck Olson, District 3 JP Harrie Farrow, District 5 JP Matt Phillips, District 7 JP Kellie Matt and District 11 JP John Howerton. District 4 JP Marty Johnson, District 6 JP Craig Hicks, District 8 JP Don McNeely, District 9 JP Roger Hall and District 10 JP Larry Swofford voted against it. Howerton cast the final vote, breaking a 5-5 tie.

In other business, JPs approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance to allow a direct deposit option for county employees, then invoked the emergency clause to read the proposal for a third time before voting for its final approval; approved a resolution confirming the appointment of Jackie Graf to a five-year term as a commissioner of the Lake Forest Subordinate Service District; approved two separate resolution appointing Jim Hughes and Chryl Hoyt to five-year terms on the Western Carroll County Ambulance District Commission; approved a supplemental appropriation ordinance to pay $429.85 to replace glass above the door of the Berryville Heritage Historical Museum’s Community Center room; approved a supplemental appropriations ordinance to reimburse line items for COBRA insurance payments; and approved a supplemental appropriations ordinance reimbursing the road department, elections and the Eastern District Circuit Court for funds received from the auction of several pieces of equipment.

Emergency communications coordinator Sam Ward presented consultant Martin Vinson with a certificate of appreciation for his help in transferring the county’s 911 and central dispatch operations from the Eastern District Courthouse to the Carroll County Law Enforcement Complex. In turn, Ward received a certificate of appreciation from Deaton for his work for the county.

Ward, who will be leaving his position soon, urged JPs to find a qualified person to assume his duties.

“Instead of worrying about what we’re paying them, we need to worry about what they’re going to cost us,” he said. “If we get the right person, they can save us hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

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

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