February 15, 2017 Edition

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Court hears concerns on
truck traffic increase

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

A County Road 210 resident came to the Lawrence County Quorum Court Monday night with concerns about his and his wife's wellbeing due to the increased truck traffic required by American Silica, LLC.

The truck traffic circulates heavy dust from the gravel road, making the air hard to breathe at times, according to the resident, who has lived there since the 1950s and is considering moving.

County Judge John Thomison said he will look into what the county can do to help, and he added that he would speak with Silica about watering the gravel roads.

Justice Alex Latham asked Thomison to also look into dust retardant, which he understood has a longer life cycle than other methods.

Thomison said his concern is that the road has to be graded regularly due to the load it's bearing. This shortens the effectiveness of most treatments they can do to control dust.

Due to the road conditions and environmental concerns of the nearby residents, Thomison did observe traffic on the roads with Arkansas Highway Department officials. He said he was informed an eight-to-10-inch thick asphalt road was needed to withstand the load.

The truck traffic is also a concern for Highways 25 and 117, which have shown signs of increased damage.

In other business, a committee that was formed to review the personnel policy regarding vacation time gave a report. The committee recommended changing the wording to represent all mention of days in regard to time off to be changed to hours as some employees work four 10-hour days.

The committee also discussed changing vacation time to calendar years instead of anniversary date, however employees would still get awarded vacation time immediately after working there one year.

Other suggestions made by the committee were to award sick days after a 60-day probation period to new hires and having a clear definition for nepotism. The committee was given more time to finalize their suggested changes.

The court also approved a resolution expressing the support of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives. The county will petition the Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and Governor Asa Hutchinson to immediately fill a position at the archives that has been left vacant for four months.

While Justice Lloyd Clark said previously he had heard plans to close the facility, he has since been told that no such plans exist. Still, as explained in the resolution, all archival libraries require two individuals on duty in order to properly serve the public and insure the security of the documents in use.

Also at the meeting, justices:

heard Thomison report that the previous historic preservation grant has been finalized with enough time for him to submit an application for additional funding this year to work on another section of the roof. "We have not got a dime of it yet, but we're on the right track," Thomison said.

authorized the county to continue to do business with Imboden Automotives, which is owned by Justice Bill Powell, and set a spending limit of $1,000 a month. Powell abstained from the vote, which was passed unanimously by the other justices.

appropriated $1,000 from county general to E-911 to purchase a computer. Thomison said he understood that this was pass through funds that had been awarded to the office.

reviewed items needing disposing from the circuit clerk's office. No action was taken to allow time for a review of the correct way to dispose of the items listed.

passed a resolution for Thomison to pursue an unpaved road grant through the Arkansas Division of Rural Services that would allow work to be done to improve areas with regular wash outs. Thomison said the grant would be a 50/50 matching grant for $50,000.

approved work to be done on courthouse restrooms to improve accessibility and bring them in line with regulations. The work will cost $6,250 and will be paid using courthouse maintenance funds.

approved the installation of a fence and security cameras at a radio tower near the Lawrence County Shooting Range. The work will cost about $3,400. A sign listing the rules of the range was presented to the court, as well and will be posted at the range soon.

were asked to provide the names of other boards they serve on. A new law may prevent them from serving on certain boards while a justice of the peace. Thomison said he would do more research and report at a future meeting what actions need to be taken.

approved appointments made be Thomison to the Lawrence County, Arkansas, Public Education Facilities Board. The board oversees bond issues with Williams Baptist College. Members are Chris Penn, Andrew Jones, Geraline Rider, Tom Sloan and Mike Holland.

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