Quorum Court moves forward with second ambulance

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY_dewayne@mcnews.online
MOUNT IDA – The Montgomery County Quorum Court approved a bid by SouthWest EMS to house a second ambulance in Montgomery County on a part-time basis, fulfilling efforts to improve faster response times by emergency medical services in the county.
Ordinance 2023-15 was passed to use CARES Act-Coronavirus Relief Fund money and LATCF Fund money to cover the $171,600 bid submitted by SouthWest EMS. The funds will be used to offset expenses for the new ambulance which is a basic truck. The ambulance has been in service on a part-time basis in Montgomery County since October 2022. It was working under a short-term contract that expired December 31, 2022.
$89,588.57 from the CARES Act-Coronavirus Relief Fund and $82,011.43 from the LACTF Fund will be used to fund the ambulance for one year.
JP Tommy Beshears cast the lone dissenting vote.
The meeting opened with an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States Flag, both led by JP Kenn Greene.
The minutes from the January meeting were approved.
Sheriff Neal Thomas provided a report from the sheriff’s office. He shared that the MCSO had answered 292 calls in the month of February. Currently there are 17 male inmates and one female inmate in the county jail. The county has started receiving funding from ADC for the housing of prisoners awaiting transfer to state facilities. MCSO has negotiated contracts for lake patrols for 2023. The kitchen in the jail is up and running and is providing meals four days a week for inmates. They have hired a part-time employee to work in the kitchen.
Susan Campbell, administrative assistant to the county judge, shared a presentation regarding a proposed restoration at the county courthouse. She reminded everyone that 2023 marks the centennial anniversary for the county courthouse. The county has hoped to have the building restored to its original glory by this year but has not been able to acquire funding to complete the project.
Campbell explained that renovations began in 2018 thanks to a grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Unfortunately Montgomery County did not receive another grant for the project until 2022. AHPP grants focus on structural repair. Most of the current needs within the courthouse don’t fall under their guidelines.
Campbell stated that the biggest need is an updated electrical system, especially in the county/circuit clerk’s office. Other needs include a new staircase to the original upstairs courtroom, new flooring and restoration of the interior to its original state.
She stated that the county could use money from the LATCF Fund to pay for the project.
She added that the long term goal is to renovate the original upstairs courtroom for public use. She stated that she would like to see the county partner with the Heritage House Museum on this part of the project. If the courtroom is restored an elevator will need to be installed to meet Federal ADA standards.
Rusty Hunter, the owner of Rough Hands Construction out of Hot Springs, also spoke about the project. He has been responsible for restoration efforts so far. He pointed out that the electrical system is in dire need of repair. He also stated that the current flooring includes asbestos. The floors in the hallway need to be incapsulated to seal off the asbestos.
If the restoration project is approved it will be put up for bid.
The building committee discussed meeting at 5 p.m. before the March meeting and taking a tour of the courthouse to evaluate the need for the project.
JPs heard an end of year report on hot check collection in Montgomery County presented by the prosecuting attorney’s office.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-09, an ordinance authorizing the county to do business with Carrol Tarkinton.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-10. The ordinance appropriates $173,231.21 from the Arkansas Public Safety Communications Grant Fund to the Arkansas Public Safety Communications Grant Fund Budget.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-11. The ordinance appropriates $57,743.74 from the LATC Act Fund to be paid to the Montgomery County Department of Emergency Management which has been awarded the Arkansas Public Safety Communications Grant to replace AWIN radios used in the county. The state grant is a 75/25 matching grant.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-12. The ordinance appropriates funds from county general fund to increase the extra help pay for auxiliary deputies from $12 per hour to $13 per hour. A total of $6,355.27 was appropriated for this purpose.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-13. The ordinance transfers funds in the ARP budget to reclassify a deputy position o a sergeant position and increase their pay. $1,123.20 was appropriated to cover the increase in salary.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-14. The lengthy ordinance included several transfer of funds amending ordinance 2021-29.
The JPs approved Ordinance 2023-16. The ordinance appropriates $10,483 from the LATCF for extra help.

Read More