Quorum Court set to act on animal issues, hospital bonds

Two matters dealing with animals in unincorporated areas of Saline County will be on the agenda late Tuesday for members of the Saline County Quorum Court.
One is an ordinance levying an annual voluntary $5 tax on real property to establish animal control services in Saline County. The ordinance states that the Arkansas attorney general, in an opinion, has determined that a county quorum court can establish a voluntary tax by ordinance.
Nine justices of the peace are sponsoring the animal services ordinance, according to County Judge Lanny Fite. The sponsoring JPs are: Josh Curtis, District 7; Tammy Schmidt, District 6; James Zahnd, District 13; Josh Mesker, District 2; J.R. Walters, District 12; Jim Whitley, District 10; Barbara Howell, District 4; Greg Thomas, District 9; and Pat Bisbee, District 1.
The ordinance notes that it has been determined by the Quorum Court that "a dire need exists to establish animal control services for the county to protect the life, health, safety and welfare of its residents and that a voluntary tax is the best mechanism for the provision of such services at this time."
The ordinance notes that net collections from this voluntary tax are to be placed in a fund to be known as the "Animal Control Fund." The document notes that these funds shall be used solely to finance the establishment, acquisition, construction, operation and maintenance of animal control services for the county.
The other animal-related issue involves an ordinance that would repeal the county's 2010 "vicious animal" act. The ordinance that will be on the court's agenda Tuesday night states that the prior ordinance regulating dogs in unincorporated areas of Saline County would be repealed in its entirety.
The ordinance states that the "investigation and enforcement of Saline County Emergency Ordinance No. 2010-64 is overly burdensome on the Sheriff's Department. Therefore, it is necessary for the smooth operation of Saline County government that it be repealed."
Sponsors of the ordinance are Dr. Allan Dabbs, District 5; and Mark Kizer, District 3.
Among the other items scheduled to come before the court in Tuesday's meeting is an ordinance approving the issuance of hospital revenue bonds; and approving a supplement to the hospital's assignment and lease agreement with the county.
Saline County owns Saline Memorial Hospital, which is leased to the Saline County Medical Center, an Arkansas not-for-profit corporation.
The bonds will make it possible to make renovations and improvements to the hospital, the ordinance states. Stephens Inc. of Little Rock will serve as bond underwriter.
The ordinance states that one series of the bonds will be issued in the principal amount not to exceed $5 million with the interest rate not to exceed 4.75 percent. The bonds are to mature no later than Sept. 1, 2033.
The other series is to be issued in the principal amount not to exceed $4 million with the interest rate not exceeding 4.75 percent, maturing no later than Sept. 1, 2033.
JPs J.R. Walters and Greg Thomas are the sponsors of the hospital bond ordinance.
The Quorum Court meets at 6:30 p.m. in Courtroom 1 at the Saline County Courthouse. All of its meetings are open to the public.