Montgomery County’s newest solid waste transfer station is essentially complete, according to County Judge Sammy Jones, and should be open for use within the next week. The judge made his announcement at the regular meeting of MC Quorum Court Monday night.
The project has been under planning and construction for several years. The Judge told court members that the project could actually be complete with a couple of hours finish work, but he wanted time make the public aware prior to actually opening the facility for use.
Two routine ordinances were passed and a discussion of continued cooperation between the county and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) took up most of the short meeting Monday night.
County Clerk Debby Baxter read an ordinance to appropriate $4,500 from a state grant to the Drug Court Budget. The additional funding was approved and will be added to the existing Drug Court Budget.
Justices of the Peace also voted to reappoint Brenda McGrew to the county Equalization Board as representative of the Quorum Court. McGrew’s appointment is for three years and is effective immediately.
County Judge Sammy Jones introduced Sholanda Guy to the court and noted that she is the new ranger in charge of the Womble District of USFS. He stated that several USFS employees have spoken highly of Guy’s ability and enthusiasm.
Guy told JPs that she was aware of the close cooperation between USFS and Montgomery County, and that she planned to continue the same level of service. She noted that she is impressed with the area, and has begun visiting various areas of the surrounding USFS district.
She told JPs that the Albert Pike Recreation Area has been reopened for day use only, but it is being regularly used by the public. The popular recreation area had been closed since a massive flash flood killed a number of campers and did extensive damage to facilities several years ago.
In addition, there was a discussion about the pending reopening of Big Brushy Recreation Area, which was also closed following a flash flood event in March, 2012. The Big Brushy Recreation Area is managed by the USFS’s Mena District.
Tim Oosterhous, Mena District Ranger, originally announced that he planned permanent closure and total decommissioning of the facility, but following a petition drive and public outcry rescinded his closure mandate.
A news release was distributed this week, noting that work was being done on the Big Brushy Recreation Area, and USFS planned to have the facility open for day use by Labor Day. Oosterhous continues to be unavailable for comment and has not returned phone messages left at his office.
Judge Jones cautioned members of the court that the county may not receive any reimbursement from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) for damage caused by flooding earlier this spring. Jones said he has spent time with the FEMA representative. An announcement was made by FEMA that the county would qualify for reimbursement from Federal sources, but so far has not received official notice, Jones added.