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County May Need Permit for Old Fuel Tanks


Tuesday afternoon, the Mississippi County Quorum Court Finance Committee discussed a property the county previously purchased with the intention of building a new courthouse in Blytheville.

Justice of the Peace Rick Ash, chairman of the Personnel Committee, updated the Finance Committee on the two fuel tanks on the South Division property purchased in March of 2015. The fuel tanks were left when the former Road runner gas station closed several years ago.

Ash said he has spoken with ADEQ and the tanks have been considered empty since 2010, which is the last time a fuel permit was paid.

According to Ash, if the county wants to avoid the liability of any contamination that may be found, the permits need to be brought up to date.

Ash said a permit is $300 per year, and it could cost the county as much as $1,200 if ADEQ requires the county to pay for permits not purchased since its ownership of the property.

This year's permit would be good until June. If the permits are brought up to date and the county wanted the tanks removed, then it will never have to pay the permits again. If leaders don't want to remove them, Ash said they need to keep the permits up to date.

Justice Bill Nelson added since the quorum court has decided to remodel the current courthouse and the citizens approved it via vote then there should be a meeting of the Energy and Property committee to decide on the future of the property. Nelson stated in his opinion they don't need the property so they should sale it.

Ash responded by saying he agrees with Justice Nelson but they need to figure out the fuel tank situation so they'll never be held liable for it down the road.

According to Ash, ADEQ requires the permits on the tanks to be up to date as long as they are kept in the ground.

Justice of the Peace and committee chairman Michael White said that he agrees the county doesn't need the property anymore and that it should go to the Energy and Property Committee.

However, White stated County Judge John Alan Nelson has "great ideas" for that property.

When asked if he wanted to expand on what White stated Judge Nelson said he'd leave it at that for the time being.

Justice Fred Fleeman stated when they bought the property there were two billboard signs on the property and they were offered around $40,000.

Judge Nelson asked, "Why not get into the sign renting business?"

White responded by saying they do get $4,000 a year from the signs and have received that amount for the last three years.

Also Tuesday afternoon, White asked if anyone had an update on fellow justice, Slyvester Belcher, who had been hospitalized. County Judge Assistant Cindy George stated he's in rehab at Osceola and hopes be out in the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, White said the county is currently eight percent through the year and all the officials are on schedule.

Judge Nelson added that the county revenue was up $13,000 in January compared to January of 2018. Nelson said he hired someone at the landfill earlier Tuesday and is still interviewing candidates for the position of director at the landfill. The GPS system is on the road graders and, according to Judge Nelson, they are "working very sharp".

Also, according to Judge Nelson, Road Department superintendent Tony Stone likes the GPS in the road graders and he wants them put in the dump trucks.

Nelson stated the drivers love it as well.

White stated that surprises him.

According to White, the GPS was cheap and stated it's about $14 to $15 a month. County Judge chief strategist JT Harris stated that for dump truck it would cost more, $19 a month.