Fulton County 9-1-1 coordinator David Keck spoke to the Fulton County Quorum Court at their June 9 meeting regarding an upgrade to the county's 9-1-1 radio system, saying currently Fulton County Dispatch has no way of reaching two area fire departments which protect nearly the whole eastern side of the county.
"I didn't know it until six months ago that we have two fire departments in our county that we cannot even page if we have a fire. We have to pick up the phone and call Sharp County and have them do it for us. It's Nine-Mile Ridge and Saddle," Keck said.
"Those are two areas that geographic location just does not allow us to do it with current equipment. We need to install repeaters over there on Nine-Mile Ridge. That will give us the ability to page them out when we have fires and have general radio communication, which we do not have now," Keck said.
Although several state grants exist for fire departments and various programs, Keck said there were no available grants for this upgrade and requested that the quorum court approve funding from the 9-1-1 budget.
"It will be beneficial to the sheriff's office as well," Keck said. "Sheriff Weaver has indicated to me that he no longer wants to do this for us, which is what brought it to my attention. He told me he is tired of messing with our calls. If they are busy with something else they have to stop whatever they are doing and do our business for us."
According to Keck, another benefit of the upgrade is Fulton County's ability to page the Spring River Ambulance Service.
"This is something we are going to have to do because we have got pretty much that whole side of Ash Flat and Hardy that they are going to cover," Keck said.
The court approved $7,899 for the upgrade although Keck said he believed the actual cost would be slightly lower.
In other business, Arkansas Department of Jail Standards inspected the Fulton County Jail June 5.
"A gentleman came up and said he was very impressed with our jail and how clean it was. We have no mold problem in our jail. Everyone has done a great job on it," Fulton County Judge Charles Willett said.
The jail does need an expansion in the future Willett said, including new cells and a visitation room. "But this year we are good. We are proud to hear that," Willett said.
The first check has arrived from FEMA for aid regarding the March 18 flooding. "This is our first check since the storm, $223,287," Willett said. "We should start getting a check every two weeks."
These funds come at a critical time for the county which has been spending limited funds since the storms to rebuild roads. Willett said fuel costs alone are up to $50,000 a month. "Thank goodness we are getting a little FEMA money in right now or it would be pretty rough," Willett said.
The Fulton County Hospital Board has gained a new member after the quorum court unanimously voted to appoint Jerry Estes to the vacant seat.
"I think he will be a great asset to our hospital board," Judge Willett said.
The Fulton County Library Board will retain Angie Ferguson who was reappointed to the board position. "She has really done a great job," Willett said.