The Sebastian County Quorum Court meeting Tuesday compiles agenda items for two months, including reviews of a solar power plan, commonly proposed Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinances, and an extension of the .25% sales-and-use tax for the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.
The Quorum Court meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenwood High School Safe Shelter, 400 E. Gary St. Justices of the Peace will also consider a request of funds from The Artemis Project, a nonprofit animal rescue group, for the amount of $40,000 to $50,000.
UAFS support tax
The quorum court is expected to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that will put a sales-and-use tax extension in the November ballot, as a special election.
The vote would be to extend a 10-year, 0.25% sales-and-use tax within the county for improvements to or maintenance and operation of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, and for related purposes. The tax would expire its term on Dec. 31, 2021. An extension would be for 10 years.
The 9.75% sales tax rate in Fort Smith consists of 6.5% Arkansas state sales tax, 1.25% Sebastian County sales tax and 2% Fort Smith tax.
2nd Amendment ordinance
Sebastian Co. Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue included a memo from Arkansas attorney Mike Rainwater that cautions the Quorum Court any approval of a Second Amendment sanctuary ordinance like those being proposed across Arkansas would have impacts on law enforcement.
Shue noted in the memo he echoes the concern “with particular attention being paid to the ramifications for the Sebastian County Sheriffs Office in defense of civil lawsuits and search and seizure issues in criminal cases.”
Rainwater’s analysis was on a similar ordinance proposed in Benton County and noted that ordinance would “require a warrant in ALL searches and seizures.”
“This would mean no more warrantless arrests (including hot pursuits) or warrantless searches (including searches incident to arrest),” Rainwater writes.
Solar power project
In March the quorum court passed a resolution to amend an energy audit that would include evaluation of solar power options for county facilities at a cost of $25,000. After review, the solar study by McKinstry reported projected savings in electrical costs of $134,000 a year for solar to provide 70% of county facility electrical service.
The review included two areas of county electrical services: the Fort Smith OG&E area faclities and the SWEPCO Greenwood area facilities.
The Quorum Court will hear a brief review Tuesday of McKinstry’s analysis with plans to bring the solar power project to a decision-making meeting on June 16.
The two solar array service areas proposed for implementation capital cost is $2,595,760. It could be paid for in cash with the policy to earmark the annual savings form the solar program to be deposited to a county capital account at $134,000 a year. Or the county could finance the capital construction cost of the project with a loan of 3% or less to be repaid from the electrical energy savings at about $134,000 a year.