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Tuesday, Sep. 16, 2014

Jail proposal, rural development to be discussed at workshop

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

(Photo)
State Rep. Lori Benedict (right) will sponsor an Oct. 11 Rural Development Workshop at the Fulton County Fairgrounds. The event, at 5:30 p.m., will include a presentation from County Judge Charles Willett and Sheriff Buck Foley on the plan to fund a new Fulton County Jail. Voters need to get educated about the proposal to use an existing sales tax to meet loan payments, since a Nov. 8 election will seek their approval.
The Nov. 8 election, which will give voters a say in the plan to build a new Fulton County jail, is fast approaching.

On Oct. 11, County Judge Charles Willett and Sheriff Buck Foley are on the agenda of a Rural Development Workshop hosted by State Representative Lori Benedict. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m., at the Fulton County Fairgrounds.

Willett and Foley will appear to discuss the jail proposal and answer questions.

Fulton County is under pressure to build a new jail to replace the current facility, which may soon face a closure order because it does not meet state standards.

The county intends to finance the project through a USDA low interest loan and a federal economic stimulus grant.

The Nov. 8 election will ask whether voters are for or against "the issuance of $2,100,000 Jail and Law Enforcement Facilities Bonds to be financed by the pledge of 17.5% of the County's existing Sales and Use Tax Revenues."

County officials have emphasized they are seeking to use a portion of an existing sales tax to pay the debt, and the vote is not for a new sales tax.

"A lot of people do not know much about the jail proposal, so the workshop will be a good chance to learn about it and ask questions," said Benedict.In addition to discussion about the new jail, representatives of eight state and federal agencies will be involved in the Oct. 11 Rural Development Workshop.
"Anyone is welcome to attend, but it will be helpful to mayors and other elected officials, fire departments, chambers of commerce and organizations in the tri-county area, who are involved in enhancing the quality of life in rural Arkansas," said Benedict. Speakers will provide information about grants and programs available for government projects, and even business loans for individuals or small businesses.

The Department of Rural Services, for example, has four grant programs to assist small communities with development projects.

The Fulton County Fair Association is currently seeking a County Fair Building Grant, to remodel the fairgrounds theater building, so it can host reunions and community events.

Another workshop participant, White River Planning and Development, offers business loan programs, as well as assistance in business and industry development.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Services will talk about federal surplus programs that can provide emergency generators and other equipment to rural fire departments.

"It's a good opportunity to get community development information from eight different agencies, at one time," said Benedict.

Thanks to the Bank of Salem and FNBC, Benedict will also throw in a free meal.

For planning purposes, Benedict is asking those who can attend the workshop to call 895-3612 to make a reservation.



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