Taxes for general revenue year-to-date for Dent County are up 4.9 percent from a year ago, county treasurer Denita Williams told the county commission during its weekly meeting Monday in the Dent County Courthouse.
“Surprising,” was the word Williams used to describe the figure, as many counties are strapped with the impact of COVID-19.
General revenue through August is $781,253.08, up from $744,559.06 at this time a year ago.
The law enforcement sales tax, road and bridge and jail tax were all similarly up, with the collections for road and bridge up 6.6 percent. Total tax collections through August include:
• $781,253.39 for law enforcement, up 4.9 percent,
• $367,782.43 for road and bridge, up 6.6 percent,
• $735,206.44 for jail operations, up 6.4 percent and
• $735,206.36 for jail construction and trust, up 6.4 percent.
There was more good economic news as Salem Economic Development Director Sally Burbridge reported to the commission that the unemployment rate in Dent County dropped to 5.1 percent in July, down from 5.6 in June and a high of 6.1 in April as the county felt the impact of COVID-19. The state average in July was 6.9, and the national average 10.2.
Burbridge also reported that an unnamed county business is undergoing a major expansion and remodel, a committee working on a community website hopes to have the site live in late October or early November and that work is underway on gathering information on the Salem airport and floodplain boundaries for a certified site application for the Masters Industrial Park.
She also updated the commission on LocationOne Analytics that provides information online for Salem and Dent County business properties available for sale. From March 1-Sept. 1, there have been 63 visitors and 785 pageviews.
County clerk Angie Curley discussed the upcoming election and misinformation that is being distributed by various sources.
• The last day to register to vote is Oct. 7 for the Nov. 3 election.
• Absentee ballots must be obtained at the clerk’s office. The deadline to apply is Oct. 21. Absentee voting begins Sept. 22. The last day the election authority can mail out absentee ballots is Oct. 21, according to state law. Absentee ballots can be brought to the courthouse through election day, voted on in the courthouse or mailed. The office will also be open 8 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 31, for those wanting to vote absentee.
• Curley stressed that mail-in ballots, allowed due to COVID-19, must be notarized and are required to be mailed back, according to state law. They must be received by 7 p.m. election day, Nov. 3. Curley said Dent County received only two mail-in ballots for the August primary.
• Anyone wanting to change voter registration or to register can come by the courthouse or go to the secretary of state’s website.
• Curley added that anyone with questions can call the clerk’s office, 729-4144.
During road reports, First District commissioner Dennis Purcell said three men were out and two trucks were down this week, limiting work. He said grading would be done on county roads 6320, 5160 and 5170. Materials would be spread on 5520, and brush cut on 2400.
In Second District commissioner Gary Larson’s report, he said grading would be done on 2550, 2560, 2515, 2533, 2590, 2595 and 2600. Brush will be cut on 2070 and 20800, and material spread on 3300 and 3050.
Presiding commissioner Darrell Skiles said four CARES Act applications were received, from Salem Public Library, Green Forest R-II, Dent-Phelps R-III and Salem R-80. He wants to remind the public that public entities and small businesses can apply for the fund.
Monday’s meeting was the first for the commission since Aug. 31. No meeting was held Sept. 7 due to the Labor Day holiday.