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County-state road deal irks Clinton mayor

Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie expressed displeasure with the county’s deal with the state to take over portions of a couple of highways.

Rorie told the Van Buren County Quorum Court at its meeting last week that some of Highway 330 that the county has agreed to take into its road system is actually in the city limits. The mayor wanted to know why Clinton was not invited to take part in the discussions. County Judge Roger Hooper responded that it was not a city issue.

The county agreed in November to take portions of Highway 330 and Highway 336 into the county road system in exchange for the Arkansas Highway Department agreeing to pay for moving water lines for two water associations in the county that cannot afford the move. The state Highway Department told the Quorum Court it would have the roads in good shape before turning them over to the county.

Rorie said he was not officially informed of the deal until he received notification from the Highway Department on Jan. 14, 2014.

He said he spent the next two days on the telephone ”following the money” and trying to see if the city could be reimbursed its cost for moving its water lines to allow the Highway 65 project to continue. He said he realized quickly that that was not going to happen and he decided at that point not to submit a resolution to the county.

Rorie said the Clinton City Council believes the city has been damaged by the move. He wants Highway 330 put back into the state road system, which, he said after the meeting, has the necessary equipment to care for it.

Hooper said he would not make that request. “Sir, we have an agreement with the state. I feel that would be going back on our word.”

Rorie warned the Quorum Court that the state Highway Department is trying to remove all “dead-end roads” from its system. He said removing Highway 330 could in essence turn Highway 95 into a dead-end and the state might want to give it to the county as well.

Justice of the Peace Robert “Bogie” Bramlett, a former county judge, said Highway 95 was not in danger of being considered a dead-end road because it runs into Highway 65 on one end and a federal- and/or state-aid road on the other end.

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