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Monday, May 2, 2016

Sharp County chosen for economic development project

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sharp County has been selected to take part in a county-led and county-wide economic development project, Judge Larry Brown announced at the July 14 meeting of the Sharp County Quorum Court.

The project is sponsored by Arkansas State University College of Business and the Delta Center for Economic Development in partnership with the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas and is known as the "Powering Rural Development" project. 

Sharp County was chosen as the first participant after a collection of letters from mayors in the county and the Chamber of Commerce, among others, were brought to Arkansas State University (ASU) and presented by Brown.

The project is designed to help Arkansas counties build effective and sustainable economic development programs that are led by members of the community and that positively effect all located in the county.

"We had a meeting with ASU last month ... about a partnership to try to set up a local and easy plan for economic development. That struck our interest," Brown said. "I was thrilled that we were the first county selected."

A news conference will be held on July 23 in the Operations Center Training Room at First National Banking Company in Ash Flat at noon and the public is invited.

An ordinance to bring an increase in property tax vote to the citizens of Sharp County was unanimously agreed upon by the court.

The increase would be to compensate for rising costs connected with the South Sharp County Emergency Medical Services System. According to the medical service, the current tax is no longer sufficient to provide staffed, equipped and licensed paramedic ambulance services as required by a separate Sharp County ordinance.

The ordinance is to call an election for voters in Sharp County who reside south of the section line between township 17 and 18 north. Voters will be voting to increase the $20 annual personal property tax assessment to $35 per year, and other purposes.

The property tax has not been increased since the general election in 1988.

Brown also discussed an issue that has arisen with the county's revenue from the Real Estate Transfer Tax. The tax is collected when property within the county is bought and the buyer purchases a stamp costing $3.30 for every $1,000 that the property cost.

Brown explained that the sales tax goes to Little Rock and what money the Administrative Justice uses is subtracted from the total amount and what remains is sent back to the county. Although the Quorum Court originally budgeted $65,000 for this year, they have only received around $44,000.

Last year in Transfer Tax revenue the county received $88,000, making the budgeted amount of $65,000 seem conservative, Brown said. In 2006, the county received $86,000 in Transfer Tax revenue.

"We just need to keep an eye on everything and make adjustments later," Brown said.

The county has received 75 percent of the over $1 million worth of damages sustained by Sharp County during the February tornado and March floods. The total damages were estimated by FEMA at over $1,086,000.

From state-aid and federal funding, the county has received around $815,000. Brown said he has signed off and requested a total of $950,000. Final claims for additional funding were made July16, according to Brown.

"We have a few more sites waiting communications and bridges," Brown said. "As bad as the disasters have been, we've been reimbursed for labor and wages which will be a life saver for us not only this year but next year."

Fuel has cost the county more than they had budgeted for this year.

Brown informed the court that the county fuel budget has almost ran out and there is only enough fuel to last until the beginning of August. In August the court will be asked for supplemental appropriations for fuel, Brown said.

"Fuel's costing double what it did a couple of years ago," Brown said.

For the month of June, fuel cost the county around $24,000.

The court reappointed the Sharp County Medical Services Board with an unanimous vote.

Board members include Shelia Morgan representing District 6, Ed Erikson representing District 7, Roberta Hutchison representing District 8, Jim Baxter representing District 9, Donald Phillips representing Sidney, Jerry McCall representing Cave City and Patty Sample representing Evening Shade.

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