The Faulkner County Election Commissioners presented a revised map outlining new Justice of the Peace districts to the Quorum Court on Tuesday night.
Commissioners Phillip Liggett, H.G. Foster and Frank Shaw said their work was facilitated by County Clerk Melinda Reynolds and her staff and the county‘s GIS mapper Tony Davis.
(The map can be downloaded from the City of Conway’s website, www.cityofconway.org. (http://www.cityofconway.org/pdfs/Faulkner_Proposed_JP_Districts.pdf)
Shaw said the commissioners had several goals for the redrawn districts.
"We sought no more change than necessary; the current JPs would keep the same district number; every municipality, except Conway, would be in a single district; we’d attempt to draw the districts using obvious boundaries, such as roads, rivers and creeks," Shaw said.
The goal was to achieve about 8,700 people in each district, plus or minus 5 percent.
"We wanted to make progressive changes without unnecessary changes," Shaw said.
The commissioners said they would file the map with the county clerk on Wednesday.
The court voted to purchase 15 electronic voting machines at the county’s cost of $15,000 to be placed in Mayflower, Vilonia and Greenbrier.
The addition of machines in those locations is "... an effort to promote and encourage voter participation, to proportionally increase the number of voting machines to avoid additional congestion during all voting periods and to open early voting sites."
Election Commissioner Foster said this would make for "better elections and shorter lines."
In other business:
• The court approved a resolution that the county will partner with the Highway Department and the City of Conway for relocation of Highway 25.
The resolution reads: "On the relocated section of Highway 25, the existing roadway will be removed from the state highway system and the County and City will be responsible for maintenance of these segments within their respective jurisdictions."
County Judge Preston Scroggin said opening a new, improved and straightened Highway 25 would be like "pulling a cork." Traffic would improve all the way to Damascus, he said.
• Scroggin reported that with the help of the Lake Conway Homeowners Association, the Mayflower-Palarm cleanup is continuing after tornado damage from Lake Conway to the Arkansas River.
• County Treasurer Regina Oakley reported that August sales tax receipts in the county were up $198,000 over the same period last year.
• County Agent Hank Chaney told the Justices that 450 young people are involved in the county’s 4-H program. The edamame program is growing with he possibility of a factory to process the vegetable soybean to be located nearby.
"It’s been a very tough year with army worms, grasshoppers, half the hay crop and a decline in soybean and corn crops," Chaney said.
He said agriculture is a $40 million business in the county, but drought has caused a decline.
JP Randy Ingram encouraged his fellow JPs to attend the Junior Livestock Sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at the fairgrounds.
"It’s a great deal for those youngsters," he said.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at email@example.com and 505-1234.)