The Sevier County Quorum Court met for their regular meeting on Oct. 12 in the Weyerhaeuser Room at UA Cossatot.
The court heard an update from hospital board of governor’s chair Dr. Steve Cole, who told them that the bond proceeds will become available to them on Oct. 22.
Cole said that the board had approved an administrator job announcement and that they would begin advertising for the position on Nov. 1. Interviews would take place in December and he hoped an administrator could be seated in January.
“We’re looking for someone talented and that wants to live in Southwest Arkansas,” Cole told the court. "Someone that wants to become one of us.”
Cole said the pay range would be between $150-$200,000, depending on the qualifications.
He said that by the time the new administrator takes the reins, the hospital will be just a year from “substantial completion,” noting that the board wanted an administrator capable of overseeing construction.
Cole told the court that the board had approved a mission statement and that all future decisions concerning the hospital would be driven by their fit within the mission statement.
He said that a furniture committee has been established within the board that will work with the architects to decide on furniture for the future facility. He said that another ad-hoc committee will work on determining the hospital’s electronic medical records system.
“They are now working with the IT company,” Cole said, noting that it would help them to get a “better read” on what needs to be done and that ‘decisions need to be made quickly.”
Cole said that the recently created hospital foundation will be chaired by Bruce Jackson and that they have a potential donor that wants to build a one-mile concrete walking path around the hospital grounds that will be open to patients, visitors and local residents.
“It’s for the community, Cole said.
He said that the board has decided it needs eight negative pressure rooms, four in the emergency room and four within the hospital to deal with pandemic situations. the cost will be $106,000 due to the necessity of having proper air ventilation.
He told the court that the board had approved a safe haven room, only the second one in the state, where unwanted babies can be safely and anonymously dropped off. The box will allow an infant to be placed into it then will lock and hospital monitors will be alerted. He said that state laws absolve the hospital from any liability and at the only other safe box in the state at the fire department in Benton, one child has been saved.
“If we can save one other child’s life, it will be worth the trouble,” he said.
Cole summed up his report by stating that a groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Friday, Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. at the site of the new hospital on Highway 71 North, weather permitting. He said that sign will be up by that date.
In quorum court business, the court approved a proposed ordinance establishing a new Fund to properly account for grant funds for operation of a safe and secure election. Fund 3504 – Center for Tech and Civic Life Grant Fund. The vote was 8-0.
The court approved a proposed ordinance establishing a new fund for Coronavirus Relief. Fund 1005 – Coronavirus Relief Fund (through Cares Act). According to county clerk Debbie Akins, the county needs the account to deposit grant funds that will be used to conduct safe elections while the covid-19 pandemic continues. There is no match required for the grant funds and the clerk’s office plans to “use every bit of it.” The funds will pay for the training of poll workers as well as cleaning supplies. She said that the grant funds will be sent to the county and that they just need to document its use in conduction a safe election. The vote was 8-0.
The court approved a request for authorization of Sevier County Judge to apply for and accept Grant Funds for Sevier County Elections to assist with operation of a safe and secure election and to appropriate an additional $11,574.75 to Fund 3504 - Center for Civic Life Grant Fund. The vote was 8-0.
The court approved a request for an additional appropriation of $5,800.00 to Fund 1800 Jail Construction Reserve Fund. This is for purchase of a 2016 Genie Scissor Lift from Hum Hardware. Sheriff Robert Gentry said that with 25-foot high ceilings in the jail, the lift was needed to change ceiling tiles and light fixtures. The vote was 8-0.
The court approved a proposed resolution Declaring Vacancy in the office of Justice of the Peace District 2. The seat was occupied by Justice of the Peace Charles Keels, Sr., who passed away on Sept. 29. The seat will be filled by an appointee of the governor based on the recommendation of Judge Greg Ray. Ray said that the appointment would be made some time after the Nov. 3 election.