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JPs stand by resolution with highway department

The bulk of last week’s Van Buren County Quorum Court meeting was devoted to discussion of a resolution passed at the November meeting.

Clinton resident D.L. Webb asked the justices of the peace to rescind their November resolution that takes into the county road system parts of Highways 330 and 336, which were state highways.

The Arkansas Highway Department asked the county to take those roads. In exchange, the highway department will pay to relocate water lines for the Bee Branch and Dennard water associations, a cost estimated at $600,000. The highway department also will get the roads in top-notch shape and will continue work on the Highway 65 project. That department will spend more than $150 million on Highway 65 throughout Van Buren County before the project is completed.

Webb said he is concerned that the county is being short-sighted and in the end the deal will be costly to taxpayers. He said there were other options the county and state could explore. He also expressed concern that the move will decrease property values.

“This is a resolution that was passed without the public being informed,” Webb said.

He said he was asking the Quorum court to look at more options.

“You’re asking us to hold up all road work on Highway 65 is what you’re asking,” JP Dell Holt said. For one month, Webb responded.

Webb also asked if the county was prepared to reimburse the city of Clinton for its costs for moving their water system’s lines.

County Judge Roger Hooper said Clinton had the money to pay for it while Dennard and Bee Branch do not.

Webb, who is the Clinton fire chief, said in that case the county could expect some bills sent to it from the city.

“Send it on,” said Holt. “We’ll send it right back.”

JP Dale James made a motion to rescind the resolution to give the Quorum Court time to “educate ourselves.”

Before the vote, Hooper said the county has to work with different departments in the state to “make things happen.” This, he said, would show the county doesn’t work well with the state.

The vote was 7-2 with James and James Reed voting to rescind the resolution.

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