The Cleburne County Quorum Court met in December with a short agenda, only two items. After they approved the previous meetings’ minutes and the treasurer’s report, they moved into the new business.
The first ordinance, read by JP Steve Choate was to amend the County Clerk’s budget and the Recorder’s Cost budget. This ordinance covered lowering the overtime budget and increase the part-time salary budget as well as increase the non-contributory retirement line item and decrease the computer software support and maintenance agreement line item. This amounts to moving around money already in the budget. They made an amendment due to an error where it stated under the County Clerk budget but should have read Recorders Cost budget. The ordinance passed as amended.
The next ordinance was to amend Ordinance 2018-025, 2019 salaries per employee was read by JP Chad Evans. This was to correct salaries listed previously to their correct amounts. The ordinance passed.
That was all they had on the agenda. JP Sam Henegar then brought up an ordinance that needed to be amended in regards to salaries of non-elected county employees. This was to reflect cost of living raises for these employees.
JP Brent Foust then brought an item before the court in regards to the Fair Board. He passed out a semi-proposed ordinance regarding the fair board. Apparently, there was a very old ordinance (1989) still in place that needed to be updated. Representatives of the fair board were present to help explain some of the wording. Several JP’s had some confusion as to the wording in regards to electing board members to the fair board. In the by-laws they have an election each November that is open to anyone in the county. Each year two members roll off, except one year that only one rolls off. Discussion regarding the fact that the board is a board of the Cleburne County Fair and Livestock Association which is a 501 ©(3) and is incorporated. Drew Smith, County Attorney said he had only received papers on the incorporation the day before but he felt that there were two separate entities. The Cleburne County Fair and Livestock Association and the Cleburne County Fair Board. He felt they were going to have to look into this and sort out what was what and how it was structured. JP Sam Henegar said he would feel better about not appropriating the funds until they got it worked out. JP Steve Choate said, “We might need to have something in the ordinance so there is openness and clarity”. It was stated that they do, in fact, submit budgets each year. A member of the Fair Board discussed that Judge Jerry Holmes attended their meetings and had suggested that they come in front of the court. A proposal was made to further discuss what needed to be done moving forward.
Holmes then brought forth a couple of announcements. The first being a grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation that was for $40,000 for an assessment. He received a 243 page assessment on the building (the old courthouse). “Overall, it was a good report.” said Holmes. There are very minor issues to be addressed that can be done in house. “Overall our old courthouse is in pretty good shape.” He will be applying for a grant for the heating and air system this next year.
For the new JP’s and other elected officials the swearing in ceremony will be at the new courthouse at 10 a.m. on January 1. For the Sheriff and Judge Holmes there will be a swearing in ceremony at midnight December 31 for any who would like to attend.
Holmes then addressed the ones who will be going off the court how much he appreciated the work they have done, “It’s been an honor to work with you.”. To the new members he looked forward to working with them.
It was discussed that the fundraiser for Bobby Mooney matching funds for volunteer firefighters was a success. There were nine of the volunteer fire departments that participated.
It was brought up that Jacque Martin had called regarding the lights shining in her house at night. She was present and Judge Holmes said they had not added any lights at all. They had replaced some bulbs that were burnt out. Martin said that there had previously been an issue on this with the previous owners, but that the lights had been turned away from her property. Holmes discussed the traffic and Martin responded that she was not talking about the traffic she was discussing certain lights that were shining into her home at night. She said her husband had went to the previous owners (of the property) and they turned the lights that were facing her property so they would not shine into her home. Holmes then brought up falsehoods that Martin had placed on Facebook during the election that he says were outright lies. Holmes said that Martin had posted that the court paid $250,000 when they had in fact paid $210,000. He also said that she said he bought the property because it was next to his property. Holmes said there was 40 acres between his property and the property they bought. Holmes then told her she had listed her property before and couldn’t sell it and “It is not our fault you had a problem selling it”. Martin asked if he was saying he wouldn’t move the lights because of what she had said on Facebook. Holmes did not respond but told her, “Miss Martin this conversation is over.” A motion to adjourn was made, not once, but twice and the meeting was adjourned.