The Cleburne County Quorum Court passed three ordinances specifying starting salaries, salaries per employees, and approved of the county budget, which was $6,417,732.10.
Justice Roger Pearson and County Judge Jerry Holmes, tried to get a yearly bonus of $500 bumped up to $750 for county employees, but the rest of the quorum court wanted to keep the bonus at $500. It was brought up that raising the bonus amount might set an unreachable precedent, and they would not want to put future county administrations in the position of having to backpedal to smaller bonuses, if times get lean.
When Holmes opened the floor up for comments, Heber Springs Alderman Paul Muse addressed the Cleburne County Quorum Court requesting documentation of a verbal “gentlemen’s agreement” between the city and county regarding the county operating the city’s non-emergency police dispatch and, when there’s not a pandemic, housing the city’s misdemeanor offenders.
The city has not paid the county a verbally agreed upon amount for these services for three months.
“Why is this just now an issue? Why did you let your constituents continue to pay this until the last three months? Why was this not brought up back then?” Holmes asked.
“We had no state oversight on these systems, now we do,” Muse said.
The ensuing discussion ended with the quorum court passing a motion made by Justice of the Peace Sam Henegar that, effective Jan. 1, 2021, the county will no longer handle the city’s non-emergency police dispatches, nor house misdemeanor offenders, and will charge the city a $50 per day fee for housing felony offenders.
“That’s what happens when you don’t pay your bills, people,” Henegar said after the motion passed.
Justice Pearson voted no, Justice of the Peace Sean Blackburn abstained, and Justice of the Peace Jay Culpit was absent.
In other business, the court voted in favor of issuing a credit card to the road department. The credit limit of the card is $3,500 and the balance must be paid monthly. Currently the sheriff’s department and the judge’s office are the departments that have county-issued credit cards. The move will help the department purchase parts online and help keep the department’s monthly invoices separate from other departments. The credit card has a $3,500 limit and the balance must be paid monthly.