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JP COGER'S WEEKLY WASHINGTON COUNTY UPDATE

 JP COGER’S WEEKLY WINDOW


🌟  So, Washington County, we have two HUGE millions of dollars in contracts of record.  Since these involve millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, one might think this [the fact these contracts were entered/executed) was something that should have been conveyed to us, the Quorum Court, but it was not.  Remember last year when I tried to get an ordinance passed that would require online publications of all county contracts?? The majority on the court voted it 𝅘𝅥𝅯 down, down, down, down, down𝅘𝅥𝅯.





JAIL:   A contract dated as of 3/14/24 and filed in the WC County Clerk’s Office on 4/2/24 between the county and Hight Jackson Associates (Architect) for construction of the “WASHINGTON COUNTY COVID MITIGATION PROJECT” a/k/a the Jail Expansion can be found here.  (With apologies for the Exhibit 2 architectural drawings as they’re impossible to read.)  I have asked to examine the original documents and also FOIA’d for full size copies.  So more on that next week.  





EOMA contract made as of 1/25/24 and filed in the WC County Clerk’s Office on 3/28/24 between the county and C. R. Crawford Construction, LLC, (Construction Manager) for the “WASHINGTON COUNTY EMERGENCY RESPONSE CENTER” can be found here








MEETINGS FROM LAST WEEK



 Here’s the link to the complete video of the County Services meeting on 4/1/24, and I urge you to listen to the entire meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/live/AVkG8TCDTSI?si=B4LKH5p3zsyHg0c4

Interested in knowing more about the meeting?  Here’s my summary and opinion.







COUNTY MEETINGS COMING THIS WEEK


🌟Finance & Budget (F&B) Committee of the Washington County Quorum Court meets Tuesday 4/9/24 at 6:00 pm, Quorum Court Room, WC Courthouse.  In person only.  The meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s YouTube channel here:   https://www.youtube.com/user/washcoarAGENDA  

 



NEW BUSINESS AGENDA ITEMS

7. AN ORDINANCE RECOGNIZING ADDITIONAL REVENUE IN THE UNAPPROPRIATED RESERVES OF THE 911 FUND FOR 2024 Item 24-0-031 (7.1)

8. AN ORDINANCE ADJUSTING CARRYOVER REVENUES IN VARIOUS FUNDS FOR 2024    Item 24-0-032 (8.1)

9. AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE COUNTY LIBRARY BUDGET FOR 2024      Item 24-00033 (9.1)

10. AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING THE BALLARD CREEK BRIDGE GRANT FUND, AND MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO Item 24-00035 (10.1)

11. AN ORDINANCE APPROPRIATING ADDITIONAL GRANT REVENUE IN THE BRENTWOOD PLAYGROUND GRANT FUND FOR 2024 Item 24-0-036 (11.1)

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THINGS TO KNOW AND THINGS TO DO:



🚩Judge Deakins announced last week that our CSU would be closing permanently 6/30/24 (if not before).  So what is the NWA Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU)?  The CSU provides an alternative to incarceration for people having a mental health crisis or disorder.  CSUs strive to divert people experiencing a mental health crisis away from hospitals and jails and toward the care they need. Jails are not equipped to provide appropriate mental health care, leading to worsening symptoms and increased risk of harm.

Why is Washington County’s CSU closing when the other CSUs are thriving, especially Pulaski County and Sebastian County CSUs?  Read more here.  


  I am working with Arkansas Citizens for Transparency (ACT) to get an initiated act and a constitutional amendment on the November ballot to strengthen and protect our Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (AFOIA)?  I will be collecting signatures each Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and each Thursday, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, in the parking lot at 224 N East Avenue, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville.  IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SIGNED, PLEASE DO AND PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO SIGN.    Want to know more?  



  PLEASE go to YouTube and sign up for Washington County’s YouTube channel.  Subscribe and be informed.  You can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/@washcoar

  • Go back and watch meetings at your leisure and make notes.  If you have questions, ask me.

  • We need to grow our audience.

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COUNTY BIDS/REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS and COUNTY JOB OPENINGS


  No new bids are posted as of 4/5/24.





  Here’s a link to current job openings in the Washington County government.  You can always check the county’s website under “Human Resources” https://www.washingtoncountyar.gov/government/departments-f-z/human-resources/job-postings

You can fill out an online application, see salary ranges and more.   



 

WANT TO BECOME INVOLVED?

  • ATTEND AS MANY MEETINGS OF THE QUORUM COURT AS YOU CAN.  CHECK MY WEBSITE WWW.BETHCOGER.COM FOR DATES AND TIMES.    

  • CONTACT JUDGE DEAKINS AND ALL JPs TELL THEM YOU WANT OUR CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT TO REMAIN OPEN AND ASK YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO GET TO WORK ON FINDING ANOTHER VENDOR(S) FOR THE CSU.

  •  Continue to ask Judge Deakins to appoint members to the CJCC and get that group up and running! This is too important. If you haven’t called, please do so, or send email, or go by the courthouse and speak to the judge in person.  THE MAJORITY ON THE COURT VOTED AGAINST MY ORDINANCE TO EXPAND THE BASE FOR CJCC MEMBERSHIP.  WHAT’S NEXT?  WHY WON’T JUDGE DEAKINS APPOINT MEMBERS AND ACTIVATE THIS COMMITTEE AND LET IT GET TO WORK?  ASK HIM.

  • Contact your JP and set up a time to meet them for coffee or just to get together.  Become a regular voice in their ear and urge them to support criminal justice reform and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.  That’s how I got started advocating to the court back in 2019. CAN YOU TAKE AN HOUR OR TWO AND MEET WITH YOUR JP AND SHARE YOUR CONCERNS OR COMMENTS, OR WHATEVER YOUR THOUGHTS ARE.

  • Share this Newsletter with your friends and neighbors!

  • Write letters to the editor.  letters@nwadg.com

  • Do you have a court date in Benton or Washington County? Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition (AJRC)  has a program to train volunteers to offer practical, procedural, and emotional support during your court hearing. From a reassuring check-in before your court date, to standing by your side on the day of court. Everyone deserves to be heard, supported, and understood.

  • To request a Court Support Volunteer, please fill out the Courtside Support Request Form. Questions? Concerns? Reach out to us at arkansasjusticereform@gmail.org.

  • To become a volunteer, contact AJRC at 479-345-1150 or the above email.  They provide training that will help make you a great Court Support Volunteer.

 



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