Benton County officials held a County Hall meeting Monday (Aug. 12) at the Billy V. Hall Senior Center in Gravette to answer questions and concerns residents had about county government functions, just days after two county officials were arrested in a corruption case and several Benton County roads and bridges were damaged by recent flooding.
The Benton County elected officials present were Bob Clinard, County Judge, Kelley Cradduck, Sheriff, Tena Obrien, County Clerk, Gloria Peterson, Collector, and Bear Chaney, Assessor, along with Steve Curry, Justice of the Peace for the Gravette area.
“Just a lot of good information that people just aren’t always up on,” said Mayor Byron Warren of Gravette.
Among the topics discussed were law enforcement, patrol, taxes, assessment, ambulance and emergency services, county planning ordinances, elections and county road issues.
“Giving information on where people can go and get help with the roads and the road department talked about the roads that they are going to be chipping and sealing over here and some of the roads that are going to be done here in the next few months,” Warren said.
With the recent floods, the road department has streets and bridges it must repair permanently. However, with three supervisors being investigated for possible misuse of county money, those projects might be delayed.
“Well that’s too bad,” said Bill Wright, who lives in Gentry. “But like I said, my impression is that the roads in Benton County overall are pretty decent and pretty good.”
The Road Department encourages people to report any road issues or flood damage.
“My negative experience was with a pot hole, which happened and you can’t blame that on the road department, but they were out there pretty quick,” Bill Wright said.
County officials are open to suggestions on its functions.
“If you don’t go to them and find out what’s going on, you’re just something to push around,” said Forrest Wright, who attended the town hall meeting.
Warren said, “It’s refreshing to see the politicians in the area and the elected officials out to answer question of the citizens.”