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BENTONVILLE -- Benton County's justices of the peace spent much of a routine Quorum Court meeting on Thursday looking ahead to the 2018 budget process.

County Judge Barry Moehring told the justices of the peace the county has assembled its team of architects and consultants, bond counsels, and a construction management firm for the courts building project. The Finance Committee will hear an initial report on funding options Oct. 3.

County budget

Benton County’s justices of the peace will have their first budget meeting for the 2018 budget after the 6 p.m. Oct. 3 Finance Committee meeting in the Quorum Courtroom in the County Administration Building, 215 E. Central Ave. in Bentonville.

Source: Staff report

Moehring said the Committee of the Whole will hear an update Oct. 10 on the design work being done. Moehring has said he hopes to have enough design work done on the building before the end of the year to give the justices of the peace a price tag and allow them to consider how to pay for the project.

The most recent concepts show a building of four or five stories, with 80,000 to 90,000 square feet, on a site on Northeast Second Street. There will be space for eight courtrooms and judges' chambers, with additional space for the Circuit Clerk, County Clerk and other related offices. The most recent estimates placed the cost of the building at $20 million to $25 million.

Nabholz Construction of Rogers was chosen to provide construction management services, Moehring said. Hight-Jackson Associates will provide architectural service and the National Center for State Courts will provide design expertise. The county recently chose Friday, Eldridge & Clark as the bond counsel.

Tom Allen, justice of the peace and chairman of the Finance Committee, also told the Quorum Court his committee recommended buying new voting equipment for about $2.6 million, to replace the aging machines. Allen said an appropriation ordinance for the equipment will be discussed at the Finance Committee's Oct. 3 meeting.

"We came to the conclusion that if we were going to buy the new equipment we might as well buy it all," Allen said. "It's up to the Quorum Court, but we need to do something quickly on that."

Brenda Guenther, comptroller, gave the justices of the peace a tentative schedule for the budget meetings, with the first to follow the Oct. 3 Finance Committee meeting. A second budget meeting is set for 5 p.m. Oct. 5. A Personnel Committee meeting to consider budget requests is set for Oct. 9 and additional budget meetings are set for Oct. 12, Oct. 17 and Oct. 19. All of the budget meetings will be at 5 p.m. in the Quorum Courtroom at the County Administration Building.

NW News on 09/29/2017

Print Headline: County officials eye 2018 budget

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