Local resident sworn in to fill JP vacancy

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    Nicole Tracy
    Reporter
    NASHVILLE – A new board member was sworn
    in to fill the vacancy by a departing member
    Monday during the monthly meeting of the
    Howard County Quorum Court.
    David Mauk was approved by Governor Asa
    Hutchinson to fill the vacancy created by the
    resignation of board member Jeanie Gorham
    at the end of the September meeting. Mauk will
    serve through 2016, to fill out the remainder of
    Gorham’s term.
    An overview of how Howard County was doing
    so far this year on property tax collection
    was covered during this
    session. Property taxes
    owed from citizens of
    Howard County total $8
    million for the year, but as
    of Oct. 17, only $6.7 million
    had been collected
    so far.
    County Sheriff Bryan
    McJunkins compared this
    year’s current totals to
    what had been collected
    at this time last year. In
    2014, by October 19, $4.7
    million had been paid. At
    the current time, only $3.3 million had been collected
    in taxes, which was way down from last year,
    but most of the big corporations have already paid,
    meaning it is individuals who still owe their taxes,
    McJunkins said.
    Angie Lewis, Howard County Circuit clerk, asked
    the court to allow her to permanently keep a part
    time employee due to increased workloads due to
    the State of Arkansas mandating that all records are
    to be accessible via a website. Lewis stated the time
    it takes to file a case in the new system has gone
    from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
    The new website will go available to the public
    on January 1, 2016 and will be able to access all
    Howard County cases currently working their
    way through the court system,
    unless they are sealed,
    Lewis stated.
    The board approved the
    request unanimously.
    A presentation was given
    by Jean Ince, Staff Chair
    of the Extension Service
    in Howard County, to the
    board. The State of Arkansas
    is asking counties to pay a
    higher percentage of Extension
    agents salaries.
    Ince told to the board that
    the local Extension office will
    be asking the county for an
    additional $16,000 in funding
    for salaries when the time
    comes for the 2016 county
    budget to be considered.
    Ince said the funds will include
    approximately $2,100
    for each of the county’s
    two extension agents. The
    remaining $11,500 would be
    used to pay a larger portion
    of the 4-H program associate
    in the county.
    The state currently pays
    85 percent of extension salaries,
    $203,817, yearly, while
    Howard County picks up
    the remaining 15 percent,
    $35,781, each year. If the
    county does not agree to
    provide the increased funding,
    Ince stated that the state
    would not be in a hurry
    to fill any open positions
    should an extension employee
    leave.
    The board also approved
    a personnel policy amendment
    that will bring Howard
    County’s personnel policies
    up to date to match the current
    Family Medical Leave
    Act wording.
    The board then approved
    the closing of the monthly
    meeting and will reconvene
    on Nov. 17.
    Board members present
    during the meeting were
    Dick Wakefield, David Mauk,
    Kerry Strasner, Bobby Don
    Turner, Archie Cothren, Martha
    Hobbes, Brent Pinkerton,
    Janice Huffman, Sheri Mixon,
    Brenda Washburn and Judge
    Kevin Smith. Absent board
    members were Jerry Harwell.