When the Saline County Quorum Court met Monday, the Justices of the Peace voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to approve the agreement for Saline County and Benton to form the Saline County Emergency Communications Center.
The ordinance said the city and county have determined it is in the best interest of both parties to create this joint center.
It will serve the unincorporated areas of Saline County and the incorporated areas of Benton, Haskell, Shannon Hills, Bauxite, Traskwood and Alexander.
The agreement establishes a 911 Governing Board made up of the Saline County judge, mayor of Benton, Benton police chief, Benton fire chief, office of emergency management director, ambulance service manager and fire service coordinator.
April Kesterson was appointed Saline County Fire Service coordinator during the meeting.
The court voted to support Issue 1 on the November ballot as well. The issue proposes "an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to continue a levy of a one-half percent sales and use tax for state highways and bridges; county roads, bridges, and other surface transportation,; and city streets, bridges, and other surface transportation after the retirement of the bonds authorized in Arkansas Constitution Amendment 91, as special revenue to be distributed under the Arkansas Highway Revenue distribution law."
Saline County Judge Jeff Arey played a video from the Arkansas Department of Transportation. ARDOT Director Lori Tudor explains in the video why passing the issue, which she emphasized is not a new tax, but the continuation of an already existing tax, is important.
Tudor spoke to the Benton Area Chamber of Commerce on Issue 1 earlier in the day. See the story on her talk for more information about Issue 1.
The resolution was passed with JPs Tammy Schmidt, David Gibson and Everette Hatcher voting against it.
An ordinance was passed providing for certificate pay for deputies. Those with a general certificate will receive $125 per month, intermediate certificate $175 per month, advanced certificate $200 per month and senior certificate $250 per month. All deputies must have a basic certificate. The pay will be one lump sum yearly. Deputies must ensure their certificates are on file by Nov. 1 to receive the certificate pay.
An ordinance was added and passed to allow the Saline County Sheriff's Department to use funds from the Law Enforcement Protection Services and Detention Center Fund, a voluntary tax that was passed in 2018. Previously, the department could not use those funds because they were not a line item.
New roads and road extensions were added to the county road system as well, including:
• Heritage Way added 123 feet of extension for a total of 467 feet.
• Heritage Valley Drive added 763 feet of extension for a total of 1,533 feet.
• Meadow Acres Drive added 1,110 feet of extension for a total of 4,781.79 feet.
• Eagle Valley Drive was added at 1,154 feet.
• Navajo Way was added at 1,403 feet.
Other business included:
• Authorizing a preliminary grant application process for FEMA funding.
• Approving three ordinances appropriating County General funds.
• Approving an ordinance appropriating County General and STOP grant funds.
• Approving the transfer of ICJR/ Arrest Grant funds
• Approving appropriating County General and VOCA grand funds.
• Approving the continuation of the ICJR-Arrest grant funds.
Quorum Court meetings are open to the public. Attendance is encouraged.