Home Breaking News Reopening of Pike County Courthouse to be ‘played by ear’

Reopening of Pike County Courthouse to be ‘played by ear’

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Under the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Pike County Judge Dewight Mack stated that the opening of the Pike County Courthouse would be “played by ear.”

He said there was no specific timeline, that it would just be seen how its going and by following Governor Asa Hutchinson recommendations.

Mack said he had contacted seven different counties to see what their plans were, with only Polk and Clark Counties officially open. Howard and Nevada have no definitive plans, while Sevier, Montgomery, Hempstead and Nevada all plan soft openings in June, depending on conditions.

“I have to look out for the county employees and public — my number one concerns,” Mack said.

Mack said revenue is similar to previous years, and that the county has appointments when needed, otherwise business can be conducted by telephone, fax or online at the county’s new website pikecountyar.org.

One courthouse employee said worker productivity was actually up without people “hanging out” to visit.

“When we do open it will be tables and masks, it won’t just be open up and get after it for a little while … we don’t have any idea what all this is going to do or how long it is going to last,” said Mack.

It was stated that the Pike County Health Department began COVID-19 testing on Monday, and it was suggested that anyone interested call the office at (870) 285-3154. 

The passing of appropriations ordinance for the month brought forth a unique story.

After the storms earlier this month, Mack said he was out cutting limbs from Cantrell Road and ran across Rodney Hudgins who was stuck off the side of the road. Mack offered to pull him out and “I pulled him out and after I got out in the road I stopped … and he didn’t.”

Mack said he got a new bumper out of the deal, which is basically the same minus the dent. Hudgins paid the $818.36 charged for the purchase and installation.

The court officially approved the purchase of a $51,500 backhoe that was discussed a couple months ago.

Mack said the trash truck previously discussed would be coming sooner than later, as it was already in line to have the bed added.

The dump truck, however, may not even come this year as the truck has yet to be built.

Having already set aside $50,000 for the 90/10 matching state grant for road repairs, the court approved another $21,240 to be added to the pot to bring the total up to $71,240.00 which will be completed later this summer.

Mack said the estimated bid came in less than anticipated, so the county would see approximately a $6,000 refund.

“When someone will give you 90% and you only give them 10%, I’ll do that all day long,” Mack quipped.

Mack said that Terrell Davis of the Pike County U-A Extension office has reported to him that not one landowner had yet called to reserve the feral hog trap. To do so, call Davis at (870) 285-2161.

County Sheriff Travis Hill said that, per state mandates, the county jail was at almost zero population.

“We’re good so far,” he said.

Pike County Treasurer Loletia Rather announced the following account openings and closing for county accounts for both March and April.

March

County General — $971,921.10; $894,422.78

County Roads — $892,422.77; $855,724.69

County Landfill — $387,636.77; $387,414.29

All Accounts — $4,592,200.01; $4,514,143.10

April

County General — $894,422.78; $481,338.40

County Roads — $855,724.69; $889,426.80

County Landfill — $387,414.29; 323,880.33

All Accounts — $4,514,143.10; $4,389,314.18

A quirk in Rather’s software moved $276,199.57 to a County General CD line item that is still part of the County General total, and was never removed from the total.

Rather said that state monies delivered in March and May only left the county down $23,165 versus last year, while the road department was short $10,184.

“It’s not much compared to what it could be,” said J.P. Jerry Kizzia.

Rather thanked those members of the budget committee who set aside $500,000 for intermodal authority which can be used as a soft landing for the county in lean years.

“We’re in pretty good shape, but there are other counties that are hurting badly,” Rather concluded.