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The Union County Quorum Court will have their first meeting of the year on Thursday; there is only one new item on the agenda.

First, the Quorum Court will review a budget comparison and a recap of revenues for December, 2019, before assessing an appropriations ordinance carrying over 2019 grant funds to two county departments.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office has a total of $13,364.49 in grant funds left over from fiscal year 2019. Sheriff Ricky Roberts said the money is left over from two different grants his office received last year – one community grant from the SHARE Foundation and one court security grant for courtroom security.

“We haven’t received all of the items that we asked to buy on the grant, so we have to ask for that money to be rolled over to this year so we can continue with the grants,” Roberts said.

The community grant has and will continue to help the UCSO purchase equipment for officer safety in the Union County Jail, which is housed in the same building as the Sheriff’s Office. The equipment includes 18 new body cameras for the county’s correctional officers and new duty gear.

“We receive somewhere around $30,000 a year through that grant,” Roberts said. “This past year, we bought vests; we bought 18 body cameras for the jail; and then we had some duty gear that we’re buying for our officers. We’re changing our Class A uniforms, we put new patches on. Some of the guys didn’t have the duty gear, some of the guys did, so we broke it all down and purchased some duty gear. And then some vest carriers.”

The court security grant has and will continue to help the office buy equipment for security in the circuit and district courtroom, which is located at the UCSO. Roberts said they used the grant to purchase restraints for inmates in court, and some of the new equipment has yet to arrive.

When a county department receives a grant, the county fronts the money for new purchases before they are reimbursed by the granting agency said Office of Emergency Management Director Bobby Braswell.

“We have to spend the money before they’ll pay us back,” Braswell said. “As soon as we buy what we’re asking, they reimburse us.”

Braswell’s office also has grant funds that will be reviewed for carryover on Thursday. He said last year, the office received a grant from the federal Department of Homeland Security for the El Dorado Police Department Bomb Squad. Approximately $300,000 was spent already on a new bomb robot and training for the squad, he said, and $7,059 remains to be spent.

“It’s just the remainder of unspent money from that grant,” Braswell said. “They have til August to spend that $7,000.”

Lt. Chris Lutman, public information officer for the EPD, said they have not yet determined how the remaining funds will be spent. EPD Bomb Squad Capt. Michael Leverett could not be reached by press time.

The Quorum Court will meet Thursday at 10 a.m. in the third-floor conference room at the Union County Courthouse.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]

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