Fulton County Quorum Court holds May meeting
Fulton County Quorum Court held its May meeting on Monday, May 27. Though it was unusual to be held on a holiday (Memorial Day), Judge Jim Kendrick said the schedule change was due to area graduations.
Minutes from the previous meeting and financial reports were reviewed and approved.
Kendrick said there had been a delay concerning bids for the Humphrey’s Ford Bridge project. He was hoping the bids would go out by the state in June, however; there was a delay on the Sharp County side of things.
“We did get notification this past week from the state that there was a thing needed to be fixed. It wasn’t us, it was something the state had overlooked; an easement involving Sharp County that borders the property we are working with...” Kendrick said the issue has since been figured out.”They have it straightened out so they sent me a new packet with a new court order. I have signed the new court order.” Bids are now expected to go out for the project in July.
During the update for roads and bridges, Kendrick said the structures are still in terrible shape. “I didn’t realize that Fulton County has never had the amount of rain we’ve received in the first four months of the year. The rainfall has set a record,” he said.
One thing Kendrick has done to encourage people to slow down is impose a 25 MPH speed limit on the gravel roads. “That went into effect last week. I don’t expect to have police out there policing it, but maybe it will slow them down and not hurt their vehicle.”
Kendrick said calls on the hotline are nearly non-stop. When calls are received during the day, workers from the road crew will assess the road, come back and tell someone in the shop what is needed. “If it is an emergency and not passable, they will go fix it right then. If it is passable, it has to go on a list. They are making progress.”
Fulton County Clerk Vickie Bishop asked about an ordinance for the 25 MPH speed limit as an ordinance is currently in place for the 40 MPH speed limit. “If you are going to implement, it needs an ordinance,” said Bishop. “It has already been implemented and I don’t expect it to be enforced anyway,” said Kendrick, adding the main purpose was to encourage drivers to slow down.
Fulton County Sheriff Al Roork said he would like to take a closer look at salaries and raises during the June meeting. Roork discussed a situation which was mishandled regarding a high speed chase. For all chases, Sheriff Roork requires himself to be notified, which did not happen at the incident which occurred a couple of weeks ago.
The driver evaded law enforcement in Lawrence and Sharp counties before being stopped just before the Missouri State Line near Thayer and Mammoth Spring. “We did some things wrong which put the public in a little bit of danger and I accept full responsibility for that. I am to be notified anytime there is a pursuit, immediately, and that won’t happen again. I think I have everyone’s attention that they notify me. They [high speed chases] are very dangerous to our public. One of the things that hampered our ability was my officers don’t all have spikes in their vehicles. That is a crucial part of law enforcement to be able to deploy spike stripes and deflate tires in order to stop,” said Roork. Needed equipment is being purchased and every deputy/officer will have what is needed should the need arise in the future.
Sheriff Roork updated quorum court members on fine collection. Under the advisement of Michael Rainwater, chief counsel used for advice, private collecting agencies will be used to collect fines. “We are going to look into that and I will let you know how it goes.”
Following elected officials comments and before tending to new business, Judge Kendrick introducted a “distinguished guest,” Hoby Wiseman, a longtime veteran and 95 years old, to the quorum court meeting. “Happy to be here,” said Wiseman.
Appropriating funds took up most of new business, along with renewing two of the four leases on road graders for the road department. “When I’m looking at the road department, the lease machinery and equipment is actually in the hole $13,000. Are you going to need to appropriate? You need to take care of the $13,000, there is not anything in here for new leased equipment,” said Bishop. “I looked at that after I did the agenda. I talked to the auditors and they said we could appropriate or move money from another account to take care of that,” said Kendrick. Judge said he plans to make those changes at the June meeting.
Carolyn Lewis, Fulton County Fair Manager, sought the support from quorum court about pursuing a grant to switch current lighting to LED. Lewis said the fairgrounds have six meters, so electricity is a large cost. Electricians have advised Lewis the switch from the current lighting to LED will pay for itself in one year, two at the most. The grant is approximately $7,000, half of which the fair will be responsible for and the other half is matched.
Bishop also sought quorum court’s support for a grant to help out with automation. The request will be for approximately $16,000 for new computers and a printer in the clerk’s office (with four stations).
Fulton County Quorum Court meets the second Monday of each month at the Fulton County Courthouse in Salem at 7 p.m.