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Leaders express concern for Miller County’s 2022 budget

Miller County Courthouse
Miller County Courthouse
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 3:57 PM CST
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MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - Miller County’s 2022 operating budget has been approved, but not all county officials are excited about the final product.

“Good budget for the county. We came in under anticipated, which is always good,” said Cathy Harrison, county judge.

Harrison says the budget includes money for the expansion of the Miller County Jail, and $5 million for the renovation of the Miller County Courthouse. The courthouse was heavily damaged earlier this year due to busted water pipes. The money used for the renovation will come back to the county from insurance

Harrison said although it is a good budget, she was disappointed the court did not approve a human resources (HR) department for the 270 employees.

“An HR Department is for the employees, not necessarily for the elected officials. When you have employees making $13 and $13 an hour, they need a resource. Somebody they can go to and talk about their insurance issues and retirement,” she said.

The total budget request was nearly $22 million. Quorum Court members voted 10-1 for approval, with the “no” vote coming from Eric Darden, justice of the peace.

He says his concern was the county only providing three months of financial support for the Juvenile Detention Center.

“That was an initiative from the budget committee who have plans to possibly shut the JDC down, and I don’t think that is in the best interest of our children. That puts hardship on families that have kids at the center,” said Darden.

In years past, the JDC center was a joint effort between the City of Texarkana Arkansas and Miller County. As of now, the county is the only source providing financial support.

The new budget goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

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