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County Updates by Rick

October 2016 update,

Thank you and I am humbled by your support and hope my record of tackling tough issues, communicating priority problems and issues to the people, providing solutions and options for the people to decide, and getting things done will continue to earn your vote on November 8 (Early voting starts October 24).  It is a privilege to serve you as Garland County Judge.  I don’t hesitate to tackle problems that have been kicked down the road for too long.  Rules are the same for everyone.  I treat the unincorporated areas, our city and our towns the same.   There’s been a lot of activity from my opponent on social media and radio with words taken out of context, negative insinuations, issues that are not even issues anymore, and some absolute false information circulated both locally and for some reason state wide.  If my opponent wishes to run his campaign on such tactics; then that’s fine.  I refuse to play political games; never have and don’t intend to start now. I’ve seen enough negative campaigning on TV recently to last me a lifetime.  It would be very easy to start a negative campaign toward my opponent, but I’ve always made the decision to run my campaigns on “what I can bring to the table:”--  proven leadership, efficiency in management with current revenues, ability to get things done, and knowledge and skills that are highly consistent with the duties of the County Judge.  Am I perfect?  Of course not, but the only campaign promise I have ever and will make is to gather pertinent information, weigh benefits vs. risks, and then make the best conservative decisions I can for the entire county.

For my background, business experience and other things that equip me for the job of County Judge, please see the home page.  I now have almost 6 years of experience carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the County Judge and still am learning each day.  I am proud of the progress that’s been made.  I can’t take credit for everything.  No one can do much without listening to constituents and working productively with others.   I am in the leadership position, but I haven’t done it all.  Good employees make the difference.  I just assist them to all pull in the same direction.  Here is some information that you might be interested in as you make your voting decision:

  • Worked with others to decrease extra-territorial jurisdiction limits of cities in Arkansas.  I am against forced annexation. I will continue to work on the water issue.
  • $42 million detention center project is completed and in full operations.   On September 27, 2016 (the same day that I was notified), I signed and forwarded to the state the certificate of termination to end the detention center 5/8 cent construction bond sales tax.  I’m told by the State that you can expect the required legal and operational processes of ending the tax will be completed by the end of this quarter. 
  • The Quorum Court has been able to approve the additional personnel needed in the new larger detention center and some additional law enforcement to patrol our county.  I know the Sheriff and Quorum Court are always working toward that goal adding officers when they can.  I am pleased that finances have been such that the Quorum Court has now been able to pay county employees an honest wage above the poverty level for an honest day’s work.  Many salaries still need attention, but having to work with the money that is available, it may take time. I am receiving feedback from the public that while there is always room for improvement, services have improved.   The citizens are getting more for the same amount of general revenue money.  I can assure you that I, other elected officials, and the Quorum Court manage your money conservatively.
  •  Within the areas of county government managed by the County Judge, I’ve worked with the appropriate officials, Quorum Court and staff to reorganize existing county resources and current employees to provide more efficient services and accountability to the taxpayers in all departments including the formation of the new financial department.  The QC did add one position - a comptroller.  This department has added needed assistance to all departments, added a new level of tracking and accountability, and has already proven its worth.  In addition to our routine State audits, the goal is to do in- house audits of all county departments on a routine basis to look at efficiencies and better checks and balances.  
  • There has been a tremendous problem with some developers (not all) subdividing property and building private roads in subdivisions that do not meet any county standards and have never been accepted by the county. The problem lies in that the people who purchase the property are told that the county will maintain the roads and in some cases the developer then walks off and provides no maintenance or upkeep on the road.  While people can do whatever they wish on or with their private property and developers can build whatever type of road they wish, it is my job to protect the taxpayers from the responsibility of maintaining private roads which had never been built to county standards, never accepted by the county, and are nothing but bottomless money pits. Public money cannot be spent on private property.
  • I am a firm supporter of personal property rights and I don’t care what people do with their own private property as long as you don’t mislead the public, abuse the property rights of others, and expect the county taxpayers to then take care of it.  And, please don’t come to me thinking that you need my permission to sell or deed your property. That is absurd.   I don’t care if you sell your property, give it away or whatever and I don’t care who you sell or deed it to.  I am not pushing for any restrictive ordinances.  The material that my opponent keeps referring to was a draft document written by an engineer a couple of years ago for Quorum Court discussion and revisions should they choose to proceed.  They did not choose to proceed and I am not pushing for any legislation as the problem has been solved with the following procedural changes.
  • We now have a process in place whereby anyone applying for new addresses or road names will receive information about county road standards and know that the county will not accept and maintain new roads that are not built to standards. This process will communicate to the public whether their property is on a private road, a Forest Service Rd., a Weyerhaeuser Rd. or a county-accepted road.  Their signature acknowledging the information is then attached to the property in the Circuit Clerk’s office and hopefully follows all future transactions giving clear information to all involved parties before or at least at the time of closing on property purchases. 
  • Garland County is one of the larger counties in the state, it’s my belief that you can’t just do things as they’ve always been done and try to do business like you did 100 years ago. 
  • I also want to address my opponent's false accusations and insinuations that I and my current staff are under criminal investigation for financial matters.  This insinuation is false.  An ex-employee is under investigation.  As the investigation continues and is the hands of the Prosecuting Attorney, that's all that I can comment on at this time.  Believe me, I look forward to the time that I can comment more on this.  I can assure the public that I called for the investigation and did everything by the book. 

I’m currently in the middle of many critical issues for our county and am asking you to allow me 2 more years to provide the continuity of leadership that will be vital to the successful resolution of these projects:  1.) the critical radio issues in the county; working toward the capability for all first responders, law enforcement in all parts of the county, and emergency management, road department, etc to be able to communicate directly in times of emergencies and disasters; 2.) working with others in attempting to consolidate of what appears to be a financially unsustainable situation having five 911 dispatch centers in the county into one central unified dispatch center that will decrease the number of needed transfers to different dispatchers, decrease response times to get people the help they need in a more timely manner and to be a better steward of taxpayer money;  3.)  Bonds financing the much extension of the MLK Expressway and the upcoming road infrastructure improvements will be sold in the next month or so with critical priority setting and organization needing to follow quickly.  Again, I'm asking for the chance to finish these issues. 

I apologize for this lengthy report, but I thought people might like to know what’s going on. If you have concerns or questions about any accusations or anything sounding troubling, please call or email me.  I mostly only check facebook on weekends so facebook is not always the best method of communication.  

Thanks for your time,

Rick

 

 

 

From time to time, Judge Davis will publish his updates on issues of concern to the residents of Garland County, Arkansas.  


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