County attorney instructed to write letter to LaSalle Corrections

During the monthly Bradley County Quorum Court meeting held Monday, October 18, 2021, the Bradley County Quorum Court voted 6-0, with two absent and one vacancy, to instruct County Attorney Ricky Roper to write a letter to LaSalle Corrections and ask their intentions as to building the private prison in Warren to house state inmates and local county prisoners.

At the September Quorum Court meeting, LaSalle management were present and stated the contract, as it exists between the company and the county, is “not feasible.”

Mr. Roper told the justices that at this time the County has a contract with LaSalle to build and house some 500 inmates, both state and local, and another contract with the Arkansas Department of Corrections agreeing for Bradley County to accept 500 inmates from the State. The attorney indicated Bradley County is in compliance with the contracts and if LaSalle is not going to proceed, they are in default. Mr. Roper recommended the Court send the letter, and based upon the response the Court decide what, if any, action to take.

In September LaSalle told the County their contract and the price to house inmates was based on the securing of federal prisoners to make the project cost effective and they are now unable to secure federal inmates. They suggested the County consider a 34 million dollar bond issue to build, own, and operate the prison since the County is theoretically eligible to hold federal inmates.

Mr. Roper told the Court a response is needed in writing from LaSalle, not a verbal statement. JP Jim Anders stated the County was never under the understanding that federal prisoners were required to make the contract work financially.

In other action, the court passed ordinance #764, amending the County personnel policy to cover 30% of employees’ family health insurance should the employee choose to cover their family. Next, the Court approved ordinance #765 to amend a grant for the hospital to cover administrative costs. Also approved was ordinance # 766 which will release County residents who contract with a private solid waste hauler to handle their commercial and residential waste from paying county residential waste. This will eliminate some 65 County customers. Judge McKinney reported that both Hermitage and Banks have contracted with private firms to haul both residential and commercial waste, thus taking all their customers out of the County system, which will reduce County solid waste revenues. The Judge indicated he did not see those actions comng.

Bradley County Coroner Sammie Warren addressing the Quorum Court Monday.

County Coroner Sammie Warren addressed the Court concerning her request for additional pay for deputy coroners and the need for supplies to be paid for by the County. She discussed state training requirements for coroners and deputies and a need for an office and transportation. Ms. Warren stated local funeral homes are providing a lot of services free, that are not their responsibility. The Court indicated they would review any request as they prepare the 2022 budget. They made no commitments as to what would be approved. The coroner is an elected county office as mandated by the Arkansas Constitution. The Bradley County Coroner is considered a part-time position.

Shane Knight, The Solid Waste Director for the Southeast Arkansas Solid Waste Board, addressed the Court about the status of solid waste collection and cost throughout the State and particularly Southeast Arkansas. He recommended the county seriously consider contracting all solid waste services to a private company.

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Run; don’t walk from this situation. Consider this a blessing! Warren can do better. I’ve stated this a hundred times. I’ll try again. After spending 28 years in coporate America dealing primarily with the Big Three, Toyota, Honda, Lockheed, Boeing, the IDF and the DOD, major manufacturers are assemblers. This means they procure their components from what are known as tiered suppliers versus building the entire product in house.

    Real growth and good paying jobs come from developing natural resources or making things. Recently we learned Ford has chosen Memphis as a site for one of their electric vehicle plants. Already there are automotive plants in AL, TN and MS as well as one of the most relied upon Defense complexes in the world right down the road from Warren. Arkansas is now a world leader in ammunitionboroduction with Sigarms, Fiocchi and Remington operating right now 24/7. ( Hello! We will soon have one of the best shooting complexes in region—-partnerships with Sig, Remington or Fiocchi to host internally sanctioned competitive events or exhibitions maybe?) Our state is also heavily vested into food and agriculture products. My native county has maintained a significant land/timber base since 1919. Why isn’t sawmill equipment or timber harvesting/planting equipment made here?

    Machine shops, plastic injection molding houses, custom coatings and paint shops, steel fabrication concerns——anything to produce components and services for area manufacturers. We have a global supply chain quagmire underway. Don’t think industry captains are not looking hard at investing in domestic souring. Through difficulty comes opportunity.

    Retail is great but you need high wages and serious wealth to support it. I am a can do man from a can do county. My ideas are worth serious consideration. Thanks for hearing me out.

    1. Great, great insight. Warren has plenty of land and it’s relatively cheap as compared to larger metro areas. High paying jobs with benefits would attract not only people within the county but people from around the region. It’s a marketable place with a diverse workforce with plenty of space to offer a company. Like the previous commenter said, take advantage of your strengths in town. Ammunition, Artillery, energy, welding fabrication etc. It’s time for Warren and the leadership to wake up before it’s too late.

      Warren, you can do better than a prison. Just take a look around at the communities with a prison. Dermott, Pine Bluff, etc. Is that Warren’s ACTUAL goal as a city? The article published earlier today on SRC shows the effect of lack of jobs and resources in the region. One deficiency I’ve noticed in my hometown is that it seems the leadership in town sits back and waits on Monticello or depends on Monticello to “assist” in finding industry. Then like clockwork, Monticello is the beneficiary in the end.

      QUIT tying yourself to Monticello and go get it Warren. Quit giving all of your sales tax money to Monticello to shop, eat, and leisures. Hopefully, young minds in Warren can get new ideas and pitches going to help bring REAL AND SUSTAINABLE jobs to the region. It’s laughable that the economic development folks hired a Monticello person as the president and she cut bait immediately. It just seems that Warren can’t get out of its own log road rut when it comes to real economic development.

      Warren has a lot to offer. Good people. People with grit. People with pride. Functioning school system with active parents. When I was a resident of Warren, it was nearly 6,500 people in town. Now, I’m seeing we are creeping close fo the 5,000 mark. In the 80’s, Warren had close to a 10,000 population. It’s time to get it turned out or Warren will be the next Fordyce or McGehee.

      Remote jobs are the new thing and it’s here to stay. Many states are offering residents “incentives” to move to areas to aid in growth, development and population growth. Downtown America is trying to make a comeback as well. Warren has a beautiful square and downtown with a lot of potential. Amazon now has a presence in Arkansas and is always looking at land for shipping centers and distribution centers.

      WHY NOT WARREN? That should be the slogan.

  2. I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. It looks like I am going back into corporate America. I am willing to recommend that the concerns I deal with consider Warren as an option. I will volunteer my time and resources. Warren is my home and gave so much to myself and countless others growing up. My motto for this great Brick Street town is: Warren: Can do!

    All we need is one good Steel Fab Shop, Machine Shop, Assembly shop to get started. For instance, with numerous lakes surrounding it, there are constant municipal projects underway in Hot Springs. I am on the bid list. Weekly there are requirements for fabricated steel structures used to manage the sewer and utilities. Hot Springs has more sewer lift pumps than the City of Dallas FYI—-right at 3,700.

    Warren has a great school district, a great Football program and a great band. Playing on a HS team that regularly places NFL players is a selling point to a young executive with sons playing football.

    The glass is always half full and as one who has worked all over this hemisphere, the people of Warren are as loyal and hard working as they come. Can do!

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