Does Sharp County have 24-hour emergency healthcare in its future? That's an issue Sharp County Judge Larry Brown will discuss with Joe Walls from White River Health System Aug. 26.
At the Aug. 11 meeting of the Sharp County Quorum Court, Brown told members that in connection with the Economic Development partnership, Powering Rural Arkansas, he, along with mayors from the county, will meet with Walls at 10 a.m. Aug. 26 at the courthouse to discuss the possibility and need.
"I don't know where all that will go," Brown said, "but we are meeting on that and talking about it."
Sharp County has been without 24-hour emergency care since Eastern Ozarks Regional Health Systems closed its doors in December of 2004. This problem has been a main concern for many in Sharp County who continue to encourage officials to research the possibility of extended healthcare.
In other business, Brown said that sales tax revenue was up as was revenue from the sheriff's department.
"The sheriff's budget is up due to the good job they've been doing collecting circuit court fines this year," Brown said.
"We've received $772,380 from FEMA and still have $136,000 left to receive. We will receive $51,000 from the state after the first of the year," Brown said.
A portion of the FEMA money has been put into fuel, $150,000, and $55,000 was allocated to machinery.
"The good news is gas is down 35 cents per gallon and diesel was down 65 cents from the last time we filled the tanks," he said.
Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said the upgrade to the 9-1-1 system was going well and should be up and running by the end of the week. Weaver said the new enhancements will allow them to pinpoint a cell phone call to within a few yards.
Circuit and County Clerk Tommy Estes submitted a letter concerning a retirement issue. Estes said in the letter that his participation in the state retirement system has saved the county $25,000 over the past seven years, but under the program's rules, Estes must retire for at least three months to keep from losing his contributions. Estes, who has been re-elected, will go back to work as circuit and county clerk Jan. 1 and could possibly go back to work as a deputy clerk in December to assist in completing end of year duties.
"He's been elected already for next year, so he'll be back in January," Brown said. "He'll be off three months without pay -- no pay at all."
Brown recommended the court support the possibility of replacing Estes with Deputy Clerk Alisa Black during the three months Estes would not be working. Brown said that Black does an excellent job, knows the responsibilities well, and "she's at every quorum court meeting which should provide some continuity."
The court cannot fill the vacancy until after Estes' retirement on Aug. 31. The court will meet in special session Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. to declare a vacancy and follow procedures for announcing the vacancy.
The court voted to allow the county judge to apply for a grant for the Sharp County Fair Board. The 50/50 grant from the Arkansas Rural Development would be used to renovate the 37-year-old commercial building and office at the fairgrounds. The grant totalling $4,000 would be matched by the fair board.