City & County

Court approves ’23 budget in 8-2 vote

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

The Clark County Quorum Court gave its approval Monday of the 2023 budget, with two justices of the peace casting dissenting votes over the way discussion was handled.

With a full quorum present — Tracy Rider resigned earlier this month to begin training as clerk — budget committee chairman Tom Calhoon noted that with $184,475 in unappropriated funds, next year’s budget would mark the “largest amount of unappropriated funds” since he’s been on the court.

At the behest of county Judge Troy Tucker, a motion to read the ordinance carried 8-2, with justices Andrea Angle and Jenna Scott voting against the reading. Once the reading was approved, an additional motion was made to adopt the ordinance; again, Angle and Scott cast dissenting votes.

Both later told The Arkadelphian the reason they said no was because Robert’s Rules of Order were not followed. “[Tucker] did not ask for discussion,” Scott said. “So I never had the opportunity to say why I was opposed to [the ordinance].” Angle agreed, adding that she had “questions that were not answered.”

Once the budget ordinance was approved, Tucker admitted that the budget was sent to justices three days shy of the time slot allowed by ordinance. This, he said, was because of an ongoing software hack that has affected Clark County offices and 40 other counties throughout the state. Justices Vanilla Hannah and Albert Neal seemed to be in agreement that it was best to pass the ordinance on short notice than put it off any longer. Neal noted that a special-called meeting would have otherwise been required to meet the Jan. 1 deadline to finalize the budget.

In considering another ordinance, justices were in unanimous agreement to approve an across-the-board $1,500 raise for full-time county employees and elected officials beginning in 2023. A separate measure was also approved to dole out a one-time Christmas bonus to county employees this year. Using funds appropriated from this year’s budget, full-time employees will receive $1,000, and part-time employees who’ve worked at least 1,040 hours will receive $500.

Neal cast the only “no” note, and Scott abstained noting her spouse is the county’s 911 coordinator, a part-time position.

Other business

• Tucker said future quorum court business will include consideration of two bids received for work at the county landfill in Joan. Both bids exceeded $1.5 million, with one bid being $5,000 lower. Tucker said he wasn’t prepared to make a recommendation Monday, as it would require the court to appropriate funds and move them to the proper line item.

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• A swearing-in ceremony will be held for elected officials and deputies at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, at Trinity Temple Assembly of God.

• Treasurer Karen Arnold announced the county would begin banking with Citizens Bank come Jan. 1 after the bank won a bid to secure the county’s business. 

• Tucker presented plaques to each of the outgoing justices of the peace thanking them for their service to the county.

Outgoing justices of the peace pose with their plaques Monday following their final quorum court meeting. Those justices, from left, are Tom Calhoon, Austin King, Ricky Arnold, Darrin “Spud” Buscher and Tracy Rider. | Submitted photo

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  1. Can’t the county be sued over breaking Robert’s rules? Trust in county government has eroded to ZERO, because career politicians bend & break the rules whenever it benefits them. If I was on the Quorum Court (to which I was unfortunately not elected), I would’ve raised a point of order. Hopefully, we can drain the swamp in 2024/26 and hold the corrupt elites accountable.

    From her wording, it doesn’t seem like Justice Scott’s ‘no’ vote was over that issue, but instead that she was already going to vote no and was not able to argue her case. BTW, abstaining on the Christmas bonus shows yet again how she’s the most principled member of this Court.

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