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County Judge sets goals for 2017


County Judge sets goals for 2017

Renovations, equipment upgrades set for the new year

2016 turned out to be one of the best for Crittenden County. And by all accounts 2017 should also be another good year for the county.

“I think 2017 should be fine,” said County Judge Woody Wheeless. “We had probably one of the best years ever in 2016. Everybody was very responsible with their budgets, and we got a lot done at the courthouse and our roads.”

Wheeless said continued renovations at the courthouse will likely top the list of priorities for 2017.

“We haven’t finished that by far,” Wheeless said.

Last year, the county replaced the 60 year-old chiller-boiler system with a new $480,000 heating and air conditioning system which has individual thermostats and units in each office, and spent nearly $50,000 to renovate the county clerk’s office and the office space across the hall from the clerk’s office.

In 2017, the county will spend $10,000 to build a conference room next to Wheeless’s office.

“I won’t have to find a spot to meet every time somebody comes in my office,” Wheeless said.

Wheeless said they also plan to start renovations on the second floor of the county office building.

“The conditions in the Juvenile Division are just not that good,” Wheeless said.

“So what we are probably going to do is remodel the east side of the second floor which is vacant, and move the juvenile division over there, and then renovate the west side.”

Wheeless said he has also applied for a grant to paint the outside of the courthouse. The structure was built in 1911 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

More road work is also on tap for 2017.

The county spent $1.5 million in 2016 on road overlays and replaced several short span bridges that were deficient with culverts.

Wheeless said they expect to do another $1 million in overlays in 2017.

“We’re working on that every year,” Wheeless said.

“We try and do more than what has been done in the past. We did a lot of

bridges but we still haven’t completed that. So that will be something we will continue to work on.”

Wheeless said they will also continue to upgrade equipment.

The county got four new dump trucks last year and new road graders.

“We’ve pretty much replaced everything at the county shop,” Wheeless said. “All of our equipment is either brand new or two years old. We don’t have maintenance and equipment issues like we have in the past.”

The county will be getting five new pick-up trucks this week, replacing several trucks which were old and worn out.

“We’ve got some that were 20 years old,” Wheeless said. “One has almost 300,000 miles on it. So those were very much needed.”

By Mark Randall

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