January's Quorum Court meeting opened with Cleburne County Judge Jerry Holmes expressing his appreciation for the court. "It is an absolute honor to be here and serve with you all, working as a team for this county," Judge Holmes said.
A lease agreement was brought to the attention of the court to lease the old OES office on the corner of 8th and Scott to Tommy Toombs and the First United Methodist Church to be used as an indigent care center and soup kitchen. According to Toombs, the church would like to purchase the property but they are not in the position to do so at this time. They would like to lease the property for a year and then possibly purchase it.
Discussion began with both JP Sam Henegar and JP Brent Foust wanting to know what happened to selling the property. Both questioned if leasing the property was better than selling it outright, as was the court's intent last year.
"By leasing the building, we will be helping a good cause and get some income out of it," Judge Holmes said. "Between the area where the property is located and the down economy, we won't get top dollar for it. I feel this is the best thing to do. And there hasn't been a lot of effort put forward to keep the building maintained until recently."
JP Bobby Mooney agreed it was a good cause. "We've been dealing with this for a while and this would be a good use of the property," he said. "It's a good cause."
Henegar stated that the court already decided to sell it and that no attempt to sell it had even been made. "Put it up for sale," he said.
JP Steve Choate agreed with Mooney. "I can't in my wildest imagination think they will make money off of this venture, but there is a need in the community and we need to facilitate their plan to meet that need," he said.
A motion was made to accept the lease agreement and move forward. The motion passed with two voting no.
In other business, Judge Holmes told the court that he had a draft resolution to approve the demolition of the old Lakeland Lodge Nursing Home. He informed the JPs that some of the salvageable parts have already been sold, recouping some money for the county. The next step is to move the utilities and pass the resolution to move forward with the demolition. Judge Holmes told them he talked to ADEQ and was informed that as long as the county had a Class 4 landfill, which it does, then the county can tear it down.
After reading over the draft resolution and making a minor change stating that the property will be prepared for sale, not for use, the JPs decided to go ahead and pass the resolution, which they did unanimously.
Page 2 of 2 - The JPs unanimously passed an ordinance to appropriate funds to several departments to cover 2012 expenses.
The JPs also unanimously passed an ordinance that stated how Quorum Court meetings would proceed.
Before adjourning the meeting, Judge Holmes introduced the JPs to Tammy Harris, the Managing Public Defender for the 16th Judicial Circuit.
The next meeting will be held February 14 at 6 p.m. at the Cleburne County Judge's office.