Sharp County is working to prepare formal plans to construct a new road shop near Fairgrounds Road in the near future.
At the May 10 quorum court meeting JP Dennis Burton said the county could construct a 7,000-square-foot building with three bays, a pit and an office for approximately $115,000. Additional storage space would be available above the office, he said.
If the county embarks on the project as Burton discussed, the new building would be 1,000 square feet smaller than the building the county currently leases in Cherokee Village.
Burton said the estimate for the building was based on prices May 10. With the price of steel fluctuating rapidly the price was good for that day only.
"With the price of steel (the price of the project) could go up," Burton said. "(If we wait) it could even out or it could even go down."
Burton suggested the county wait to begin construction in hopes the prices will decrease. The county has the Cherokee Village shop leased through 2004.
"We've got this thing already for the rest of the year so let's sit on this for now," Burton said. "We could be cutting our nose off to spite our face if prices went up, but if the price dropped 15 percent, that's a lot of money."
JP Darrell Kehrli suggested the county construct a square post building to cut down on the price of the new shop.
Burton said the life expectancy of such a building is lower. He said a square post building requires wooden posts to be placed into the ground where they can rot.
"You can look at stuff to start decaying after 15 years," Burton said.
JP Marcus Goings suggested Burton prepare formal plans for the new shop to be presented to the court.
The county has been renting the 8,000-square-foot Cherokee Village road shop for five years at a cost of $800 a month. The shop serves as the headquarters for the 23 county road employees, said Dan Melbourne, county road superintendent.
The property owner, Marvin Gibbons, placed the property up for sale and gave the county the first option to purchase the property, estimated to be just more than an acre, JP Greg Prenger said. The asking price was $85,000. The property assesses at $78,600, county assessor Kathy Nix said.
At the last quorum court meeting JPs voted not to purchase the property and instead construct a new shop on county property off Fairgrounds Road near Ash Flat.
Before the county moved to the Cherokee Village shop, staff operated out of an old Quonset hut in Evening Shade. That property assesses for $2,000, Nix said. The county will open bids for the Evening Shade property.
In other business, Sharp County received grants from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management totaling $119,728. Of the grant money $65,764.68 is for the State Homeland Security Grant Program, $49,246.59 is for the Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program, and $4,716.88 is for the Citizen Corps Program.
The grant money was determined based upon information provided by county emergency management coordinator Pete Reilly in conjunction with first responders.
Crawford said Sharp County was one of only two counties in the state which have submitted an application and have had it approved so far.
The county sales tax is down. Burton said if the county continues at this rate the county could suffer a $30,000 shortfall in sales tax in 2004.
Sharp County Judge Harold Crawford said every entity's sales tax is sluggish this year.
Crawford said he hopes the summer and fall months bring more sales tax into the county to make up for the current shortfall.
The court unanimously approved contributing $1,500 to a fund which will be used to purchase a larger van to transport veterans to doctors' appointments in Little Rock.
The county will pay $800 from the grants and aid fund and take $700 out of county general.