Transit Authority Pushing for November Vote

July 26, 2004 -- Posted at: 9:30pm CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Members of the Northeast Arkansas Transit Authority Board aren't giving up on their hopes of someday having public transportation available to residents of Craighead County. That topic was briefly discussed at Monday's quorum court meeting.

Members of the transit authority board want to let voters decide whether they want a transportation system in the county. Their goal is to get the issue of public transportation on the November ballot.

County Attorney Mike Walden said they have 2 options. First, (and the main method used) they would have to get signatures from 15% of the registered voters who voted in the Circuit Clerk's race in the last election.

Ideally, they would like to have a second method happen. The 13-member quorum court could pass 2 measures that would bypass the normal route. Walden explained, "I did find a procedure where by a quorum court could pass an act, and then a certain percentage; I think 3/5 of the members of the quorum court could vote to actually call a referendum on a piece of legislation that they had passed, which might result in that being put on the ballot."

Walden added that he does not know of any instance in which that second option has been used. He has not been contacted by members of the transit authority about the request either. However, County Judge Dale Haas said they were scheduled to be at Monday's meeting.

Another item on the agenda: quorum court members voted 9 to 3 to approve a request by Juvenile Court Director Ashley Boles. After a probation officer left, a replacement was hired in at a lower salary. The difference of $4,805.07 was divided evenly among three current employees giving each of them a raise of $1,601.69. Boles felt the increases were justified, and the changes do not effect the total budget for the Juvenile Court Department.