We have just completed eight (8) months and have only four (4) months left in 2015. I would like to bring you up-to-date on the road, some happenings in the County, and about upcoming events.
The first item to report is the Road Improvement Plan:
2011 thru 2014 2015 plans TOTAL YTD
Tons of Gravel: 602,000 125,000 73,619
Miles of 4” Gravel 193.8 45.8 19.8 miles
Asphalt Overlay; 61.8 6.9 4.5 miles
Chip & Seal Overlay 50. 5 7.0 ———
New Chip & Seal: 26.3 14.2 4.9 miles
Total Improved Miles: 332.4 73.9 29.2 miles
2011 – 2014 Road Income Percentage
Property Taxes 28.0%
Miscellaneous Other Taxes 0.3%
Highway Turn Back 18.2%
Natural Gas Severance 16.1%
1/2¢ Sale – Road Tax 6.9%
Forest, Flood, Leasing 0.4%
Sale of Equipment 2.2%
Reimbursement Paving & Road Work 20.8%
Insurance Claims 1.4%
Other Income 2.2%
Next, we will review the road department expenditures for the last 15 years. This has been a time of increasing revenue from mineral taxes, natural gas severance tax, reimbursement from gas companies, and starting in July, 2013, the ½-cent gas tax.
The figures below are a recap of expenditures by each 5-year period:
Years Total Annual Average
2001-2005 $ 7,584,000 $1,512,000
2006-2010 $13,780,000 $2,756,000
2011-2015 $24,238,000 $4,848,000
The above doesn’t include any Federal or State Grant or State-Aid which is approximately $3,500,000. from 2011 thru 2015.
Next year, will be decreasing revenue for the Road Department because of reduced drilling, lower natural gas prices, and reduced volumes of gas. We are expecting about an 8-10% reduction in revenues in the Road Department budget.
We will be looking at increasing grants, more opportunities to lowering cost while maintaining quality, and working with the private sector (non government sources) to increase participation and revenue.
Economic Happenings in Van Buren County for 2015
1.)Petroleum prices remain lower. The County Road’s Department budget shows about $100,000 less dollars or 30% under budget.
2.) Recycling increased 14%, tire recycling increased 28%, and by tons, solid waste went up by 3%.
3.)Ozark Health Hospital Professional building should be completed by the end of September.
4.)Gas companies project to drill 225-250 wells in 2015. Down from the 375-400 wells projected the first part of 2015. This is for all Fayetteville Shale Counties.
Highway 65 – 4 Lanes
5.)A. Highway 65 in Clinton is complete.
B. Highway 65 from Damascus to Bee Branch is making good progress.
C. The section of 65 from Bee Branch to Clinton is scheduled for 2016 bid. This is provided the U.S. Congress can agree on a long term Highway Funding Bill.
Contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives and encourage immediate action.
6.)Both Clinton and Damascus report good livestock sales since opening.
7.)The new Van Buren County Library is about 50% complete.
8.)UACCM will start the LPN nursing program in January, 2016.
9.)Tourism dollar revenue went up 7.5% in 2014. Another good year seems to be developing after being slowed because of early spring rains.
If you haven’t visited Van Buren County’s three marinas (Sugarloaf, Choctaw, and Fairfield Bay) you need to visit them. All have made many improvements and have added additional boat slips and improvements on the Marina buildings. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. There is close to 1,000 commercial boat slips in Van Buren County
10.)A new tractor supply store will be coming to Clinton. Construction has already begun.
11.)Fairfield Bay has two new medical clinics, one from Ozark Health and one from Baptist-Heber Springs.
12.)A bond issue for road improvement at Fairfield Bay was passed in early 2015 with voter approval, over 29 miles of repaving has been completed.
13.)In early 2015, Fairfield Bay received an award from the Arkansas Business Publishers Group and Crews & Associates. This award was given to Fairfield Bay designating them as “City of Distinction, for Quality of Life”. This was for city’s with less than 2, 500 population.
We have many groups working for economic improvement in our County. Some of these groups are:
1.)“We Love VBC” which uses the University of Arkansas Extension Service for guidance.
2.)“Economic Development Committee” which uses the Arkansas Economic Development Committee for guidance.
3.)“Uncommon Communities” sponsored by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.
4.)“Fairfield Bay 2035” is an eight member local board bringing forth local ideals for future improvements.
I know there is many other local boards that work together to bring forth community improvements and promote future growth.
I would like to thank all those members and encourage others to begin participating.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR REST OF 2015
Labor Day weekend – National Chuckwagon Races (Clinton)
2nd Saturday – ACRDC Concert (Alread Community Resource Dev. Corp.)
1st Monday after Labor Day – Van Buren County Fair (VBC Fairgrounds)
19th – 21st Free Gospel & Bluegrass Festival (Scotland)
Last Saturday – Chimes Volunteer Fire Dept. Hog Roast at 5 p.m. (Chimes Community Center)
1st Saturday – Clinton Chamber Chili Cook-off & Craft Fair.
2nd Saturday – Masonic Lodge Fish Fry (Scotland)
2nd weekend – Oktoberfest at the Bay & StoryFest at the Bay (Fairfield Bay)
31st – Scare of the Square Downtown Clinton
Clinton Bass Tournament
Veterans Day Parade (Clinton)
1st Saturday – Annual Christmas Pageant (VBC Fairgrounds)
1st Week – Live Nativity (VBC Fairgrounds)
2nd Friday – Ozark Health Foundation Gala
Clinton Trail of Lights
Festival of Trees (Conference Center in Fairfield Bay)
1st Saturday of each month – Scotland Community Corp. Breakfast,
(exception: no breakfast the 1st Saturday of September)
Thanks and may God Bless you and your family.