BY MELANIE BUCK –
County budgets requests were approved at the Polk County Quorum Court meeting in November, where Justices of the Peace adopted a request for a $4.4 million budget for 2016 and approved resolutions to apply for grants.
The 2-year budget request comparison shows that 2016 requests were more than $95,000 above 2015 requests. Many departments in the general budget stuck close to their 2015 budget numbers, which were already ‘lean’ according the Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison. However, there were increases in some departments and decreases in others.
The largest request increase came from the ‘elections’ account. Due to 2016 being a general election year, that budget moved from just over $25,000 in 2015 to $128,000 in 2016; a difference of almost $103,000. The largest decrease came from the Office of Emergency Management, who in 2015 requested $118,000, asked for $104,000 in 2016; a difference of $14,000.
Other budget requests include $367,000 for the county road budget; $822,000 for the Sheriff’s department; and $396,772 for the jail account. District Court operations requested more than $228,000 and the school resource officer account requested $142,798. The County Judge’s account requested $95,047; the County Clerk account requested $200,730; $196,445 was asked for by the Circuit Clerk account, while the Treasurer and Collector requested $107,546 and $202,862, respectively. The Quorum Court itself requested $97,720 and $168,051 was requested by the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, while juvenile office requested almost $140,000.
The Rural Volunteer Fire Department budget asked for a slight increase, equaling an $86,350 budget while the Veterans Service Office requested $82,815 and the Extension Office requested $60,297.
JP’s authorized County Judge Brandon Ellison to apply for grants on behalf of two county volunteer fire departments. If awarded, the grants will provide funding for Shady Grove Volunteer Fire Department and Ink Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of new personal protection equipment, namely firefighter coats and pants. Ellison will apply to receive $35,042 for Shady Grove and $39,409.08 for Ink. Shady Grove also seeks to purchase handheld radio equipment and Ink also seeks to purchase equipment to complete the build of their tanker truck. Both grants are being applied for through the Arkansas Rural Development Commission.
During December’s meeting of the Polk County Quorum Court, percentages were designated for funding District Court Operations for the City of Mena, County of Polk, and Town of Grannis for 2016.
Also at the meeting, an ordinance was passed to renew the contract between the County and Southern Disposal, Inc., for the operation of the Polk County Landfill.
The next meeting of the Polk County Quorum Court will be Tuesday, January 26th, at 6 p.m. in the Polk County Office Complex on Pine Street.