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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

'Watershed' definition may impact Fulton landowners

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Staff Writer

A re-definition of a watershed proposed by an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) study could adversely affect property owners' rights in Fulton County, said Land Plan Committee member Mary Rivera at the April 12 Fulton County Quorum Court meeting.

Rivera said the ADEQ has designated the Strawberry, South Fork and Spring rivers and their watersheds as extraordinary resource waters or ERWs. She said the designation means that any property around the rivers or in the watershed are subject to ADEQ regulations.

"The problem is the definition proposed by the ADEQ would mean that any land that water runs off of in Fulton County would be considered part of the watershed for one of these rivers," she said.

Rivera said the ADEQ would have the power to regulate chemicals used on private property, the placement of livestock, fertilizers and even grading gravel roads.

She said the Land Plan Committee is trying to start a grassroots effort to stop the implementation of the new definition.

"We don't have any direct power over this process, but if we can build some public support the ADEQ, the Arkansas Pollution Control and the EPA will have to take notice," Rivera said.

The first vote on the definition will be next week in Harrison.

In other business Connie Buss, a citizen in Fulton County, asked the quorum court to reimburse her $342.74 for damages to her 1996 Aerostar van in a November 2003 wreck, caused by two county workers.

Buss said Gallagher and Bassett Insurance, the county's insurance company, covered some of the damages caused in the collision but refused to replace a rear windshield wiper motor and rear speakers.

She said the insurance company said the van was too old and it couldn't be proven the wreck caused the damages.

An emotional Buss said her father recently passed away and she needs the money to help cover his funeral costs.

Fulton County Judge Curren Everett and JP Jim Bicker said they were disturbed by Gallagher and Bassett's refusal to cover what seemed to be a legitimate cost.

Everett told Buss the court could vote to give her the money but the money would go directly to whomever fixed the van.

He said the county is audited every year and legally they need a receipt showing how the money was spent.

Buss said she didn't understand why the county couldn't give her the money.

Fulton County Attorney Dwayne Plumlee told Buss the county isn't obligated to cover the cost of her damages. He said the county has insurance to protect it from cases like this. Buss could take the insurance company to small claims court if it didn't pay her, Plumlee said.

The court didn't take any action.

The Woods Point Campground project is going according to schedule, said Everett.The campground, located in Baxter County, has been taken over by Fulton County. Everett said Baxter County has been helpful and the campground will be open by Memorial Day.

The court voted unanimously to allocate $2,500 to the Drug Task Force. The money will be used to find suspected drug dealers.

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