A fairly routine meeting for the recent Van Buren County Quorum Court Thursday, April 20. Personnel matters were on the agenda again, but here with less discussion as the body comes to terms with the hiring freeze currently in effect after its passage Jan. 1.


Two ordinances were passed unanimously which added part-time hires to the sheriff’s office. In the first case it was a Corp of Engineering officer, fully funded by the corp, with a March 1 start date. The second resolution was for hiring two part-time officers, needed to staff the jail.


“I don’t have any problem hiring part time people,” Justice Todd Burgess said.


Part time hires, as they do not have the additional weight of benefits that full time hires would have to the county, have less impact on the budget.


Earlier in the court meeting Sheriff Scott Bradley told the Court the jail was full, including its housing 17 federal inmates.


These federal inmates led to the passing, also unanimous, of an appropriation ordinance “…to increase the county general projected revenue by $252,320…” reflecting revenues from maintaining federal prisoners, in turned being used to fund seven vehicles for the sheriff’s department.


In two previous Quorum Court meetings Bradley presented, and the court supported, a lease-purchase arrangement for vehicles which will result in higher-quality sheriff vehicles with significantly less cost as equity is realized.


An additional hiring decision, also passed unanimously, was to fill an empty slot on the road department brush crew. Here again, the nature of the county budget was such that road department monies are only used for road department expense. Since the department is in-budget, the decision was not difficult for the court to approved the hire for this decision.


In other Quorum Court items:Road Department has moved 44,360 tons of gravel to date for 2017, and has two leased graders on the way.The recent state legislative session was, on the whole, good for the county. Legislation was passed which diminishes paperwork requirements and otherwise lowers the record-keeping burden for county offices.The animal shelter, while continuing busy, remains able to move animals out-of-state for adoption, with Massachusetts being a big customer for adoptable strays.