Independence County Quorum Court: No news on suit against city of Batesville, ordinance passed to support district court

Article by Madeline Pyle

Despite the court’s September motion to discuss litigation at the October meeting, there was no discussion on pursuing the debts owed by the city of Batesville at last night’s meeting of the Independence County Quorum Court.

However, the court did pass an ordinance amending the county’s budget in order to establish a budget to cover Batesville’s district court costs.

“When Batesville quit paying for district court, there are certain funds available to help the court run,” explained County Judge Robert Griffin. “Those funds all started coming to us in addition to the fines.”

With the passed ordinance, those funds were appropriated to the County General account to support the district court.

In other news, White River Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) administrator Jonathan Pickering announced that the JDC is receiving a new contract with a new rate of pay from the Department of Youth Services, which categorizes the center as a “community service provider.” This means the center can now better sustain therapy services’ costs.

The new contract also makes the JDC eligible for federal grant money starting in 2020. Pickering said that with grant funding, he hopes to expand the center’s services to more youth clients.

“It’s a pretty huge deal,” Pickering said.

In other news, the county has received a $30,240 grant from the Association of Arkansas Counties Automated Records Systems Fund which will allow the County to digitize its records from 1950 to present.

According to Circuit Clerk Greg Wallis, records from the 1950s and 60s are barely legible, and this grant will address that problem.

“A company will come in and scan [records], enhance them, and bring them back to life,” he said.

In the treasurer’s report, County Treasurer Bob Treadway shared that the County General is $165,642.69 in the red, and the Emergency 911 Fund is $37,536.01 in red. The one-cent county-wide tax has a year-to-date increase of 3.29 percent over 2018.

The November meeting has been moved to Tuesday, Nov. 12 so that it will not have to meet on Veterans’ Day.

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