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Justices of the Peace discussions are essential on the use of relief funds

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Jefferson County Quorum Court committees met on Tuesday to discuss several appropriation plans involving funding for the U.S. stimulus package. Jefferson County received about $ 12.7 million and received half of that funding last month.

A money transfer proposal from this plan to fund the Southeast Arkansas College Special Construction Project has been approved for submission to the full court of the college.

College President Steven Bloomberg presented justices of the peace with a new student center and 300 student housing units.

“The student center and associated student accommodation will be purpose built to function as university facilities in non-emergency situations,” Bloomberg said. “However, these two facilities can make a rapid transition to serve the public in the event of a pandemic or any other significant emergency scenario.”

The project began about two years ago, but Bloomberg’s request for $ 3 million to receive U.S. stimulus funds would help build the two facilities.

“The student center will be at the heart of the campus,” Bloomberg said. The student center will be built where the two original buildings that made up the Pines Vocational and Technical School were located, he added.

“This will give us the opportunity to create much-needed green space, a gathering space for our students and an outdoor space,” Bloomberg said.

County Judge Gerald Robinson said the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the city have plans underway to secure federal plan funding.

“These funds must be spent by December 31, 2024,” Robinson said. “All construction projects must be completed by the end of December 2024.”

A credit measure was also approved to go to the full court of quorum to provide funds to the Town of Humphrey in the amount of $ 57,200 for water treatment.

Humphrey Mayor Cleveland Hatch asked for help repairing the water treatment plant, which made national news about the yellow tint of the water filling sinks, tubs and washing machines.

“Recently the town of Humphrey was considered nationwide for the water conditions we have there, so he made that request,” said Robinson, a native of Humphrey. “My aunt from Maryland called and asked me if I was okay, so I assured her I was okay.”

Landmark Engineering analyzed and determined a solution and stated that the cause of the failure is that the media inside the filter has been lost. Records show that there has been no maintenance since the plant was completed and commissioned in 2004.

The service manual states that media should be added at the factory every six months.

Due to lack of maintenance, the media shifted and almost everything was removed from the filter during the backwash cycle.

Landmark Engineering claims that the water is safe to drink despite the discoloration and strong metallic taste.

A filter rehabilitation process will correct the problem, according to Landmark Engineering.

“We are aware of the situation,” said Robinson. “The mayor and I had many conversations and the citizens were very concerned and we talked about the possibility of doing it to help them.”

Funds in the amount of $ 374,387 from the US Recovery Plan have been approved to be turned over to the Full Quorum Tribunal to make improvements to the WC “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center and Justice Center for miners Jack Jones.

Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. identified some critical capital improvement expenditures, necessary infrastructure investments and equipment for which the funds would be used.

Repairs and replacement of the interior glass in the inmate accommodation area were at the top of his list.

Woods said the glass that separates inmates in medical isolation from the general population and areas used for prison infirmary quarantine is either damaged or broken.

Lexan glass, Woods said, would provide a protective barrier for staff members and inmates.

Woods also wants to repair and reinforce the 18-gauge stainless steel panels with a 2×2 stainless steel perimeter in inmate toilets to prevent inmates from escaping or concealing illicit contraband, creating an impact on health and safety. public security.

According to Woods, the pine and ducts above the ceilings of the prison’s internal sanitary facilities are accessible to inmates.

Replacing the 10 porcelain dressers with durable steel in living areas will prevent further damage.

Woods said current porcelain dressers are easily damaged and can be converted into weapons.

Woods also asked for a risk premium from employees, updated radio communications, an intercom control system and security systems for the prison.

Each credit proposal will be voted on by the Quorum Court at Monday’s meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

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