Quorum Court approves money for courthouse elevator

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County Judge Doug Erwin presents retiring Cabot Chamber of Commerce executive director Billye Everett with a plaque recognizing her service. Everett had served as director since 2006. (Photo by Ed Galucki)

Beaver bounties, aerial mapping and upgrades to digital records keeping were on the agenda of the July 20 quorum court meeting. Also, the justices of the peace approved an appropriation ordinance that begins the process of installing an elevator in the Lonoke County Courthouse.

Lonoke County Judge Doug Erwin and Justices of the Peace Brent Canon, Mike Dolan, Henry Lang, Tim Lemons, Lee Linville, Roger Lynch, Larry Odom, Bill Ryker, Adam Sims, Matt Sanders and Barry Weathers attended the meeting.

Up to now, the Lonoke County Courthouse, built in 1927, has had limited handicapped access including two types of chair lifts. One chairlift was installed as a result of a federal lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Parts for one of the lifts are no longer available, Erwin said.

Cost of the elevator will be covered by several funds, Erwin said. Of the total needed, $100,000 will come from an Arkansas Historical Preservation grant, about $40,000 through Gov. Mike Beebe; state Senator Eddie Joe Williams has pledged $30,000 as well as state Senator Jonathan Dismang, Erwin said.

Also approved was an appropriation to release funds from a voting system grant for the County Clerk’s office.

County Clerk Larry Clarke said the grant was applied for in March, for nine more electronic voting logbooks. There is no cost to the county, he said.

The recommendation is for one electronic logbook for each 500 voters, Clarke said.

The electronic poll books do away with the need for bulky, difficult to maintain paper books, Clarke said. They will also bring the county into compliance with the requirement that voting records be adjusted within 24 hours of an early vote being cast, he said.

In other matters, Ryker reported on the July 15 meeting of the aerial mapping committee. Members were given an overview of aerial mapping, with a presentation by Shelby Johnson of the state Geographic Information Office.

While all counties had aerial imaging available, it was done in 2006 by the state, Ryker said.

The state office will aid in obtaining bids for aerial mapping with specifications on who can use the maps, Ryker said.

Sims presented a proposed ordinance that would prohibit bringing beavers trapped in other counties into Lonoke County for the purpose of collecting the bounty.

Lonoke County offers the bounty to encourage the taking of beavers to reduce the flooding problems caused by beaver dams.

The ordinance was approved.

Sims also presented a proposed program to establish community service opportunities through the county and the Lonoke County Leadership Coalition. The program would help high school students who need to fill the community service requirement for graduation.

Retiring Cabot Chamber of Commerce executive director Billye Everett was recognized for her seven years of service. She has held the position since 2007.

“The people in the Chamber of Commerce are who keep the ball rolling,” Erwin remarked. “[Everett] has done an excellent job for all these years,” he said.

“I can assure you, she will be extremely missed,” Erwin said.

Dolan reported that the budget committee has begun “roughing out” next year’s budget.

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