I thought you might like a quick update from the office of the Van Buren County Judge. We had a very busy and productive January.

Roads

County roads, unfortunately, have been a slow go. The weather certainly wasn’t on our side for most of January. We have had a lot of rain and freezing temperatures. Please be patient as we work overtime when necessary to keep your roads in the best shape possible. The grader operators have been allowed to take all the time it takes to clean the ditches and crown the roads as they go. If you see one of our graders in action, feel free to give them a toot of your horn to show them your appreciation.

Jobs

I have worked many hours reaching out to potential businesses for opportunities in VBC. Dialogue has been opened and we are in communication with serious investors. The positive responses from those investors have been uplifting. We need all the jobs we can get.

Investing in Van Buren County

A local business has agreed to sell tires to the county via the Arkansas State Procurement Process, or “State Bid.” The purchase of tires alone for cars, tractors, and large equipment will bring back over $50,000 from other counties this year alone.

The road department is shopping locally for parts to repair our own equipment. We are buying locally whenever possible. Buying locally for us is simply a way of life.

The office of Prosecuting Attorney was in need of two new vehicles which were purchased right here in good ole VBC via State Bid. Spending your money here (tax dollars we spend are not ours, they’re YOURS) funds local jobs and supports our own county.

Transparency

The VBC Quorum Court meetings are being video recorded and are available through the county’s website, www.enjoyvbc.com through the following links: Click the Government tab at the top of the page, click Quorum Court, then click on Quorum Court Video Link.

Other matters

We are shopping for the absolute best buy on a rock crusher. We have found some equipment with as little as 800 hours, under warranty for 2,000 hours. It is a jaw and cone type crusher on tracks with a screening plant. The rocks in VBC have a very high silica content so we need this type of equipment for our good quality stone.

We had a little ice/snow in January in the northern half of the county. Sand spreaders were sent out as quickly as they could be effective. Thankfully, the winter precipitation quickly melted.

I am meeting with vendors to restore equity in our equipment as leases are set to expire. Good things are happening on that front.

The glass ceiling of the VBC Road Department was shattered on Jan. 1. Wanda Huff came on board as a road crew laborer. We are truly an equal opportunity employer and place a high value on diversity. Through research, I haven’t found any history or documentation of a female being on the road crew here in the county. Ladies, feel free to pick up an application for the road crew at the court house annex.

I brought over from the Sheriff’s Department Shannon Hoyle. She is in charge of documenting the county’s system of roads. By the end of the year, our goal is for you to be able to go to the county website, click on roads, click on your road in question, and get full documentation about that road. Is that road a county road, public access route, city street, or even a private drive? We hope to have the answers to those questions readily available at your fingertips, including markings for the beginning and ending of each road truly in the county road system.

Summary

I thank God daily for the blessings this county offers. It is truly an honor to serve as your County Judge and to put “Van Buren County First”.

Dale James

Van Buren County