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Other Voices — News from the judge’s office

I am writing this letter on Oct. 17, 2012.

I hope everyone is enjoying the cool fall days after a long hot and dry summer.

The county Road Department has hauled a total of 135,110 tons of gravel YTD for 2012.

We are completing the asphalt overlay and chip & seal for this year.

The total road improved in 2012 (40 weeks – YTD) were:

4”+ of gravel & drainage improvements 52.5 miles

Asphalt overlay 8.7 miles

Chip & seal 12 miles

TOTAL 73.2 miles

Archey Fork Bridge has been completed and they are now working on Shelby Road Bridge.

We have been able to grade roads since Labor Day.

There are two issues on the ballot that I would like to give you additional information on. They are as follows:

1. Van Buren County Separation of County and Circuit Clerk

A. What will be the Circuit Clerk’s duties? He/She will take care of Deeds, Mortgages, all Court cases, Probate, assignments, and all recordings. The amount of these items have increased by four times since 2000.

B. What will be the County Clerk’s duties? He/She will take care of county payroll, taxes, budgets, Quorum Court, Marriage License, Child Support, and make sure all statutes and regulations are followed. The budget for the county has increased six times since 2000.

C. * Van Buren County is classified as a Class II County (population 10,000-20,000). Nineteen out of 27 counties in this category have already split these two positions.

*Information obtained from the Association of Arkansas Counties

2. Providing additional funds for State Highways, County Roads, City Streets, Bridges, and other surface transportation. This is published as Constitutional Amendment Issue No.1.

The following information (A-F) was obtained from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research & Extension.

A. Authorize up to $1.3 billion in General Obligation Bonds to fund highway construction and improvement of the State’s four-lane system.

B. Levy a temporary (approximately 10 years) one-half percent sales and use tax to generate revenue to re-pay the bond debt and provide funding for county roads and city streets.

C. Permanently dedicate a one-cent per gallon from proceed delivered from existing motor fuel and distillate fuel taxes to the State Aid Street Funds.

D. Would include a four-lane highway from north of Clinton to the top of Dennard mountain.

E. The one-half percent sales and used tax would not apply to the grocery and food ingredients items.

F. If the issue is passes, collection will begin July 1, 2013.

According to the Move Arkansas Forward Committee, the annual turn-back from the state that would go to the county or cities of Van Buren County would be:

Annual and 10-year total:

County $366,629 and $3,666,289

**City $99,979 and $999,791

**The estimate for the city does not include revenue from the one-cent existing Motor Fuel Tax that would generate a $20 million revenue for the State Aide Funds, without raising gas taxes.

The county has an Animal Shelter for dogs and cats. This was started in 2003. The capacity is approximately 60 dogs and 30 cats. Through September, the shelter has taken in a total of 439 dogs and 194 cats in 2012.

The shelter has one full-time employee and two part-time employees. They cover all of the county, except for Fairfield Bay, which has its own shelter.

The shelter tries to place the animals by adoption, placing in temporary foster homes, sends to an animal rescue location in other states, or return them to owners.

The animal shelter’s operating budget is approximately $85,000

Our animal control officer Is Pam Hopkins.

The shelter’s phone number is 745-2121

Next time I will cover the Van Buren County Library system.

Remember to vote!

Early voting began Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, and continues through Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. Weekday hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. during early voting only.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

In the United States we have a right to vote, so exercise that right.

The Van Buren County Democrat website is available only to print and digital subscribers. If you are already a subscriber, you can access the website at no additional charge.