Resolution to build tornado safe room in Jonesboro passes

By Maddison Smith | Aspiring Journalist
Delta Digital News Service

After last year’s tornado ripped through town, the committee has been offered a chance to apply for a grant to help pay for a multi-purpose safe room in Jonesboro. 

“The grant is a 75% to 25% match and it has to be used for tornado, related mitigation expenses,” Chairman Josh Longmire said. “We are eligible for roughly $800,000 so our grant portion is in the neighborhood of $200,000. We could potentially have a million-dollar project.”

For this project, Longmire will be partnering with the East Arkansas Planning and Developing district.  The multi-purpose safe room would also have community rooms or hold Quorum Court. 

The grant money would not only pay for the multi-purpose safe room, but also the Hazard Mitigation Plan for Craighead County, which has to be updated every five years and was last updated in 2017. 

“We have to update that plan to be eligible for other grants like the one today,” Longmire said. 

The committee expressed concerns about the resolution and whether building just one safe room was adequate. Another committee member mentioned possibly upgrading the tornado sirens in Jonesboro with the grant money. 

Other items on the committee’s agenda include: 

  • Tax collection report from Craighead County Tax Collector Wes Eddington 
  • Finance reports from Treasurer Terry McNatt
  • Resolution to endorse Camfil USA, Inc. participation in Tax Back Program; passed 
  • Approval of Clean Up Ordinance for budget year 2020; passed

Prior to the Finance and Administration committee meeting, Quorum Court held their bi-weekly meeting. During the meeting, the court passed a resolution to amend the 2021 annual budget resulting in the loss of funding for two jobs. 

The funds amended included: 

  • Recorder’s cost fund 
  • Child Support cost fund 
  • Circuit Clerk cost fund 

The old budget for the recorder’s cost fund was roughly $1 million and the new amended budget for the cost fund is now $891,128. 

According to Craighead County Judge Marvin Day, this reduction in the budget means two jobs in the Craighead County Circuit Clerk office will no longer be funded. These two jobs include chief deputy held by John Smith and a criminal clerk position, which is currently vacant.

Justice of the Peace Kevin Williams said “We are not elevating the position, we are elevating the funding for that position. That’ll be something Candace Edwards does in her adult professional manner like she said in here the other day.”

Other items on the court’s agenda include: 

  • Ordinance amending 2021 budget to add fund 3553; passes.
  • The court received a check from the City of Bay to pay off part of a debt to the city. 

Maddison Smith is a senior in the multimedia journalism program in The School of Media and Journalism at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. You can follow her on Twitter. She can be contacted at: