In a meeting lasting less than 35 minutes, the Quorum Court heard updates about county roads, whooping cough, the library and animal population.
County Judge Roger Hooper said the road department has hauled 146,480 tons of gravel through Nov. 15. He said the department is currently working on Rocky Hill Road in Dennard. The Shelby Road bridge work is completed, and the road department is now working on the Round Springs Road bridge near Highway 9.
Van Buren County librarian Carla Fultz and Library Board representative Rhonda Davis asked the justices of the peace to approve hiring an architect to begin planning a new library. Davis said land had been donated on Factory Road for the new construction by the Donald Warren family.
JP Dale James said the land is "technically not in the 100-year flood plain," and it wouldn’t take much to build up the site.
The JPs unanimously approved the board’s request to hire an architect. The money will come from funds the library gets from a 1 mill tax.
Fultz noted that the Clinton branch of the library had 66,420 visits last year; 62,161 items were checked out; and there are 36,000 items in the library. The library has eight computers that, Fultz said, stay full all day. The library also offers book check-out or re-check-out via its website, movies are available, and music can be downloaded at no cost to patrons.
The reason the library needs to move from its location on Shake Rag Road is simply space, Davis said.
In other business, Van Buren County Animal Control director Pam Hopkins told the Quorum Court that the shelter currently has 42 dogs and 16 cats. She said 13 dogs and 15 cats had been adopted since her last report, and she said the Loved Me But Left Me animal rescue had taken 27 dogs in September and October.
Jeana Williams, coordinator of the Office of Emergency Management, addressed the county’s situation regarding whooping cough, and said the state Health Department has been very helpful. It could not be determined how many cases have been diagnosed in the county by press time.
James noted that county residents are handling the situation calmly. "When we have problems here, we just roll up our sleeves, deal with it and get through it."
The JPs unanimously approved a resolution authorizing execution of an equipment lease-purchase agreement with Bancorp-South Equipment Finance, a division of Bancorpsouth Bank, which allows Hooper to act for the county. The resolution is No. 2012-20.
The Quorum Court also was unanimous in its support of a transfer request from County Clerk Ester Bass to move $50,000 from the Recorder’s Cost Fund to cover building improvements at the Courthouse.
Also unanimously approved was Dell Holt’s request to donate $500 to CASA, a program that provides advocates for children involved in the court system.
The Quorum Court’s next regular meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 20, 2012, at the Courthouse Annex. The meeting is open to the public.