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Washington County Update - August 13, 2023

What to learn more about the Quorum Court, in person?

I’m hosting a gathering on Monday MONDAY 8/14 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM at the gazebo in Gulley Park to talk about the QC, but most of all, to listen to community members about your concerns and how I can better represent you. I’m especially interested in hearing any questions you might have about the court or county business.


For example:

1. How do you feel about the proposed Emergency Operations Center?

2. What should we do about our severe jail overcrowding?

3. Do you agree with pretrial services?

4. What do you think about implementing Mental Health Court?


What would you like to see the court do differently?


Did you know? In 2022, the QC appropriated $30,000 for repairs and renovations to the Public Defender’s Office, but that work has still not been done. I have inquired several times to Mr. Dwight Gonazles at Buildings & Grounds, to Judge Deakins and Chief of Staff Johnson, but no action has been taken.


There was a water break and flooding in the courthouse at the beginning of this year, and I understand that work took priority for a time, but that time has passed. There’s no excuse for the work not being done. It’s disrespectful to our public defenders who


work so hard and are so understaffed and underpaid. We can do better than this!


Did you know? There’s a 15-minute public comment time (each speaker gets three minutes) at the beginning of each regular monthly QC meeting. You can address the court at this time about any issues or concerns you have. If you like, you can use your time to speak to the court and tell us and the judge that you value the public defenders and want to see their office repaired and renovated.




Event information below. RSVP for the event here HERE.

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Here’s what happened last week:


WC QC Finance & Budget Committee met Tuesday 8/8. Watch the full meeting here. We reviewed several items, here are the highlights:

  • WC may be required to decrease the millage rate next year due to the reappraisal and increase in values of real property taxes in WC.

  • Reviewed the 2024 budget proposals for the County Judge and departments under that office. Here are a few new proposals for the 2024 budget:

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Upcoming Meetings & Events


WC QC REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING: 8/17 @ 6 PM, WC Courthouse. IN PERSON ONLY. The meeting will be live streamed here. The agenda includes:


1. STRONGLY OPPOSE: JP Lyons’ ordinance to do away with the QC hearing appeals from its citizens concerning conditional use permits (CUPs) and large-scale development proposals.


If JP Lyons’ ordinance passes, we JPs will no longer be allowed to hear appeals. Our constituents and community members will no longer be allowed to bring appeals to the QC. Anyone appealing from a ruling by the WC Planning Board will be required to file their appeal with the WC Circuit Court. The appeal will then be before a WC Circuit Court judge and subject to the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure and Arkansas Statutes, and this will be prohibitive for many. Most community members won’t be able to navigate this process without an attorney and that can be very expensive; thus, this ordinance will shut out many people. That is never good for anyone.


2. STRONGLY SUPPORT: My ordinance to fund ARPA grants for 12 local nonprofits.

WC has received over $46.4 MILLION DOLLARS in ARPA funding. This money was supposed to be used to counter continuing pandemic-related crises, and fund recovery efforts as communities emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. If every nonprofit is funded, that will only total $598,117. Out of $46.4 Million!!


Out of 46 applications, only twelve have been approved for funding. These organizations went through an extremely challenging application process. During the pandemic they provided food and other assistance, especially to disproportionately impacted communities.


These nonprofits need to be funded and I hope you will show up Thursday night to support me as I bring the ordinance forward. These organizations are deserving of this funding.


3. Major changes to the benefits and approved leave policies for county employees.


4. My resolution to support funding for the NWA Crisis Stabilization Unit.


5. The Beaver Lake Tiny Homes CUP appeal.


6. Spending and appropriations for the 2023 budget.


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We NEED Your Help!


  • ATTEND the August QC meeting Thursday 8/17 @ 6 PM where the ARPA ordinance and the ordinance to do away with Planning Board appeals to the QC will both be on the agenda. We need to pack the courtroom for that meeting and be prepared to speak out. It does make a difference when we have community members in the audience.

  • Call Judge Deakins, Sheriff Cantrell (he’s on the CJCC) and as many Justices of the Peace as you can. Get to know them. Meet them for coffee. Tell them you want a real pretrial services program in Washington County.

  • Share this Newsletters with your friends and neighbors!

STAY TUNED: I am working with Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition (AJRC) and former JP Eva Madison to host a “Mock Quorum Court” training event to acquaint community members with how meetings are conducted and how they can become informed and involved. No date has been set but hopefully sometime near the end of August.


I welcome your questions and comments, also suggestions you have for any county related business. You can reach me at ejcoger@gmail.com or text or call 479-306-9994.


Here’s the link to email addresses and telephone numbers for JPs, County Judge, and others.

See you at the courthouse!

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