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JP COGER’S WEEKLY WASHINGTON COUNTY WINDOW 6/9/24 - TOO MUCH GOING ON TO COVER EVERYTHING THIS WEEK, BUT HERE GOES...

Updated: Jun 10




  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 


There are currently only 780 subscribers and we need everyone in Washington County to subscribe and watch the meetings.  Only 432 have viewed last week’s County Services meeting.



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Last week the local nonprofit, Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, filed a federal lawsuit against Washington County, Arkansas, alleging, among other things, illegal use of American Rescue Plan Act dollars.  Read the complaint here.  


Remember when the WC Quorum Court said, “Let the people decide" [referring to jail expansion]?


Remember when the jail expansion efforts by the county were defeated by a vote of 59% AGAINST in 2022? 


Remember when community members and others told the county it was illegal to use ARPA funds for jail expansion? 


Remember reading the ARPA Rules from Congress which also said that:

Quoting from Page 31 of the U.S. Overview:  “Treasury presumes that the following capital projects are generally ineligible:  

Construction of new correctional facilities as a response to an increase in rate of crime

Construction of new congregate facilities to decrease spread of COVID-19 in the facility…”


Remember when the WC Quorum Court voted anyway to use ARPA money for jail expansion to the tune of almost $20 Million?  That’s what brings about this latest lawsuit against the county.  At Finance & Budget Tuesday, 6/11/24, the judge and county attorney will be asking for $100,000.00 of your taxpayer dollars to fund the defense of this lawsuit. That's the beginning ask, but will probably be more later.


Contact your JPs and the County Judge and let them know if you want them to spend your hard earned money defending this lawsuit, especially considering the information provided herein. Here's the contact information: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M90HMXWclgwjzC67qzl31FFOOqrD4GsbcWBRDKnfLso/edit?usp=sharing


Read the Treasury Final Rules & Overview here:




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WASHINGTON COUNTY QUORUM COURT

FINANCE & BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETS

TUESDAY, 6/11/24, 6:00 PM, WASHINGTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE


 🎌THE AGENDA INCLUDES AN ORDINANCE TO ACCEPT $125,273.12 FROM THE STATE CRIMINAL ALIEN ASSISTANCE PROGRAM GRANT FY2024!  Learn more here about SCAAP!


🎌AN ORDINANCE TO FUND THREE NEW KENNEL ATTENDANT POSITIONS AT THE WC ANIMAL SHELTER BECAUSE THE STATE IS PULLING THE INMATE LABOR


🎌AN ORDINANCE TO GIVE THE COUNTY ATTORNEY’S BUDGET ANOTHER LARGE SUM — $100,000.00 — TO HIRE OUTSIDE COUNSEL TO DEFEND THE LAWSUIT FILED THIS WEEK AGAINST THE COUNTY ALLEGING ILLEGAL USE OF ARPA MONEY FOR JAIL EXPANSION (AJRC V. WASHINGTON COUNTY)


🔔  Finance & Budget (F&B) Agenda for 6/11/24 at 6:00 PM, Washington County Courthouse  

Read my summary of the F&B meeting and its agenda here.  



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COUNTY UPDATE FROM LAST WEEK


🌟 The WC Quorum County Services Committee met 6/3/24.  You can watch the full meeting here, and I suggest you do that to get the entire picture and see how wonderful the public comments and interaction was.  My resolution passed (after amendments). My ordinance did not.


I want to thank everyone who made the effort to come and speak in support of the NWA CCC (women’s prison) and also, those who just showed up to support the center and its people.  It was awesome and since I’ve been attending the QC meetings starting January 2019, I’ve never seen this large a crowd turn out for any one thing. WATCH THE MEETING HERE: https://www.youtube.com/live/Ks-r_5E6OMo?si=Qq-j3PzQIKFGL1xD


Here are a few snippets taken from the meeting, but you need to watch it all to understand what’s going on.  Too much to include it all here:


→ JP Ecke @ 2:26:56:  “... if the church did its job in this country we'd be so better off…”

@ 2:27:19:  “...what is Jesus going to say when we all end well done my good and faithful servant you visited me in jail yes you did those things and you're going to say when did I visit you in jail…”


@ 2:28:59:  “...wait a minute you all promised us five or $1.5 million for the crisis stabilization Center and then they reneged and they washed their hands clean of us and we're stuck what do we do with it…”    


Fact:  The state has not “reneged” on their promise to fund the CSU!  The closed CSU has the same funding from the state as it did last year.  We just don’t have a director/vendor to run it and as far as I can see, our county leadership is not looking for one.  I hope I’m wrong about that. There's an ordinance on the agenda for F&B this week to accept that funding.


My ordinance for a feasibility study for taking over the NWA CCC facility and related expenses was tabled (against my wishes) for three months.  My resolution to show support for the NWA CCC passed after JP Ecke said some of my words were “false and misleading” then proceeded to give us a detailed definition of “critical care.”  Starts at 2:54:25 in the video linked above.


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DETENTION CENTER INFORMATION 6/8/24


As of  6/8/24, there are 739 people locked up in our Washington County Detention Center.  Many of those are pretrial - meaning they’ve been arrested and/or charged, but have not been found guilty.  93 of those people are homeless.  There are 233 Failure to Appear charges; 21 Parole Violation charges; 40 Violation of Probation charges; 245 “hold for other department”; and 59 “courtesy/contract hold.”  

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  COUNTY JOB OPENINGS THIS WEEK (5/26/24)


 🌟 Here’s the link to the current Washington County Job Openings as posted on the HR website: https://www.washingtoncountyar.gov/government/departments-f-z/human-resources/job-postings

 There you’ll be able to complete an online application, see salary ranges and more.  

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THINGS TO KNOW AND THINGS TO DO:


 WE’RE GETTING CLOSE TO THE FINAL COUNTDOWN ON BALLOT INITIATIVE PETITIONS.  IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SIGNED THE PETITIONS TO SAVE TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT, PLEASE DO AND PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS TO SIGN. I will be collecting signatures each Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in the parking lot at 224 N East Avenue, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fayetteville.     Want to know more?  


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