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10/26/2019

First Quorum Court Meeting at old ANC-Burdette

 

The Mississippi County Quorum Court met for the first time in its temporary venue Tuesday night inside the newly formed courtroom at the former Arkansas Northeastern College-Burdette campus.

With the exception of the Circuit Clerk's office, all county offices have been moved to the Burdette location as the Blytheville courthouse undergoes a $14 million renovation, which is expected to take 14-24 months.

"I would like to express our gratitude to Dr. (James) Shemwell, the board of governors, the foundation of Arkansas Northeastern College for their very generous invitation for county government to use this campus to serve as the official and temporary residence of the Chickasawba Judicial District," County Judge John Alan Nelson said at the close of Tuesday's meeting. "We're just now finishing up on it."

He told justices that the big courtroom required only a few minor changes and he anticipates the small courtroom being completed this weekend.

"After that, I think we'll have everything done," Judge Nelson said.

"And nicely so," Justice of the Peace Michael White added.

"It turned out really well with very few bumps in the road," Judge Nelson said. "We're very thankful. And there was a lot of people that came together to make that work."

Meanwhile, one of the first orders of business in the new location was selecting RL Persons Contracting of Poplar Bluff to construct Class 1 and Class 4 cells at the landfill.

The quorum court unanimously approved the $2,287,775 bid.

Justice Neil Burge, who chairs the Landfill Committee, noted construction will begin on Nov. 4 and take about 90 days to complete.

Judge Nelson noted the budget for the project will be tight, but he believes county will squeak by financially.

"Once we get over this hump, we will be in very good shape for a long time to come," Judge Nelson said. 'These are going to be really important additions to the county. Right now we are putting in Class 4, which is cheap materials, into our very, very expensive Class 1. So, this will get us turned back around and headed back down the right road."

White thanked Burge for his efforts in the improvements at the landfill.

"It takes a lot of work. He pays attention and he knows what's going on and I appreciate it," White said.

In other business, the quorum court approved a part-time landfill billing clerk position, which has been filled by Joyce Sanders.

The measure allows a maximum annual salary of $15,210 - $15 per hour, with a maximum of 1,014 hours and no retirement or insurance benefits.

After passing the appropriation ordinance, the quorum court later amended it to say the position would be paid out of the landfill funds instead of county general funds.

In other news, the court approved an ordinance allowing the county to do business with Eagle Laser Engraving of Leachville, which is owned by Mississippi County Sheriff's Department deputy Kevin Cooper.

During the committee reports portion, Judge Nelson said the county will soon start a $1 million bridge project, which will be paid for using state aid money.

He said the county has documented all roads and ditches they've worked on this year through the GPS system.

He noted one of the biggest challenges in the road department has been washouts near the river.

One hole required 300 truck loads of concrete, according to Judge Nelson.

"I'm very proud of our road department," Judge Nelson said. "Tony Stone is doing a great job. We didn't get everything done that we wanted to do this year because of the rain, but we're making plans now for next year."