City & County

Quorum Court to hear EDCCC reports

By Joel Phelps
The Arkadelphian

The Clark County Quorum Court will hold its monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 14, to discuss an agenda filled mostly with ordinances and funds dealing with a 1/2-cent sales tax for economic development.

Justices of the Peace will consider a second reading of an ordinance approving guidelines governing how the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County can use tax funds. Justices at January’s meeting gave their nod to the ordinance as proposed. At Monday’s upcoming meeting, the court will have the option to suspend Roberts Rules of Order and hear a third and final reading of the ordinance, and to adopt it.

The ordinance is being sponsored by justices Ricky Arnold, Darrin “Spud” Buscher, Tom Calhoon, Vanilla Hannah, Austin King and Tracy Rider.

Based on the agenda’s numbering order, the Rev. Johnny Harris is set to address the court about the EDCCC ordinance after justices make their decision. Harris has been outspoken on the EDCCC’s guidelines, calling for language that ensures African-American businesses are represented in the application process to secure grants from the EDCCC. Harris has gone so far as to create an incorporated organization, called the Minority Business Council of Clark County, and has enlisted at least 35 local African-American businesses to ascertain they are part of the grant process.

Justice Albert Neal, who also has voiced pushback against the proposed ordinance, is sponsoring the discussion Harris is set to give.

Two additional speakers are on tap to address the court. 

Dr. Wesley Kluck is to discuss a “release of funds” from the Arkadelphia Alliance. Kluck has a backup speaker, EDCCC interim CEO J.L. Griffin, lined up in the event of his absence. Rider is sponsoring that discussion.

Kevin Jester, president of the EDCCC’s public voting board, will address the full court on the ordinances and updates from the EDCCC, with Griffin serving as his backup speaker in the event he, too, is unable to attend. Arnold is sponsoring that discussion.

On a somewhat related topic, there is a resolution being proposed that would authorize County Judge Troy Tucker and Arkadelphia City Manager Gary Brinkley to sign any satisfaction of mortgage on a property owned by the Clark County Industrial Council. The CCIC gave the city the land in 1989 for $1.

In other business, justices are set to appropriate $1,289 from the Clark County Library’s American Rescue Plan fund to two line items in the 2022 budget. Information included in Monday’s agenda packet notes $598 is being requested for computer software, support and maintenance, and $690 is for machinery and equipment. 

Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner will report to the court on a county’s Hot Check special fund. 

In committee updates, the court will also hear a report from the Jan. 21 Budget Committee chaired by Calhoon. During that meeting it was learned that the county had three part-time employees who worked more than 1,040 hours in 2021. Those employees were accidentally overlooked during the final meeting of 2021 when the court OK’d a bonus for all other employees. The three part-timers are set to receive $500 apiece from the Coronavirus fund from where the other bonuses were given.

Also in that committee meeting, Turner spoke about an unexpected $14,000 bill, from his case filing system, not accounted for in this year’s budget. Committee members determined that since the bill in question was for 2021 that funds could be moved around in the 2021 budget to cover that expense. An order from the full court is needed to transfer those monies.

Circuit Clerk Brian Daniel brought to the committee’s attention that his office is in need of a new server. Daniel provided a quote from Ark Tech Services for $14,286. The committee referred that expenditure to the full court.

County Clerk Mona Vance addressed a balance issue within the Assessor’s full-time salaries for 2022, with $6,000 needed to correct the issue. The committee referred Vance’s discussion to the full court, as well.

Monday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Clark County Court Complex and is open to the public.