Small group meets for intergovernmental meeting

Friday, October 13, 2017

A small group turned up Tuesday for the county's quarterly intergovernmental cooperative council meeting, with only the county judge, Harrisburg mayor, and county sheriff in attendance.

Poinsett County Judge Bob Cantrell said they have been doing a lot of road work in the county and have two bridges that will be redone using FEMA money. He said the courthouse annex has been cleaned up, and the tree lines have been trimmed to prevent water damage to the building. They are also finishing a 30x100 equipment shed at the county shop.

Regarding the county courthouse, Judge Cantrell said they elminated the 80-year-old boiler and are putting mini-splits in each office instead, which are all eletric and quiet. He estimated that work would be completed in the next 30 days. There has been a construction meeting about sealing the roof of the courthouse to keep the water out, and the basement leaks have been fixed.

Harrisburg Mayor Randy Mills said Southeastern Medical Solutions has submitted their application to the state to open a medical marijuana cultivation facility in the city. He said another potential industry could be coming to the town. He couldn't say who it was but said it could mean a potential 70 jobs.

Mayor Mills said the city still does not have its new well and is waiting on the engineer. The city is halfway done rebuilding a street on the south end of town, is working on ball fields thanks to a grant, has purchased a bucket truck, and is doing work on a building that the senior citizens center is planning to move into thanks to a grant. Mills also said he is in talks with lumber companies about possibly getting one in Harrisburg. "We're losing a lot of money to Jonesboro because we don't have a lumber company in town," he said.

Sheriff Kevin Molder spoke about several projects completed at the detention center this year. The chiller was repaired and is now working and keeping the electric bill lower. They are also working to fix lighting issues. Earlier in the year, lights were completely out in some of the cell blocks. Molder said the lights are working now in all of the jail and that one block, which was really bad, has had LED lights installed. The plan is to install LED lighting in another block next year. Kiosks have also been put up for inmates to use for things like medical requests, general requests, and law library access. They have also got lighting in the parking lot now.

Regarding the deputies, Sheriff Molder said they all have laptops and are able to make reports from their cars in the field. He said they also have good coverage over the whole county. The fleet had four vehicles down at one point, though the Quorum Court approved the purchase of an SUV this week. Molder said the Dodge Chargers are not well-suited for gravel roads.

The sheriff's office has also opened up a fund for donations to go toward equipment, and Molder said they have already received several donations and have bought things such as reflective vests--for working accidents--and rain jackets. They are also in the process of getting department-issued weapons instead of requiring officers to buy their own. "We're trying to upgrade the sheriff's office to bring it to where it needs to be," Sheriff Molder said. "The deputies put their lives on the line. The least we can do is get them the equipment they need."

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