Collegiality marks first meeting of new County Commission

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LEADERSHIP – From left, Chairman Pro-tem Darrel Hicks and Chairman Rosanne Ward were re-elected to their leadership positions on the County Commission for a second year, while Mayor Mark Ward saw his choice James Warren Melton appointed to serve as county attorney for the next four years.

By Angela Jones

At Monday night’s County Commission meeting, something was missing, and no one was sorry it was gone. The arguing and acrimony that had marked so many meetings this past year was absent, a very welcome change to the start of new terms for six commissioners and the first meeting for Mark Ward as mayor. Interactions were all very collegial.

The first business of the night was to elect leaders to preside over meetings for the coming year. As expected, current Chairman Rosanne Ward and Chairman Pro-tem Darrel Hicks were re-elected to their leadership positions for a second time. Both were re-elected without opposition.

In an early resolution, the Commission approved appointing Camden native James Warren Melton as Ward’s choice for the four-year county attorney position. On his last night on the job, Paris attorney Shawn Johnson received thanks from Ward and the Commission for serving the county for the past four years.

The group got straight to work on the night’s agenda, approving all resolutions. These included:

•Re-appointed Richard Kee and Brad Mills to the E911 board and appointed Ray Wilson and Frank Wright to the board of public utilities.

•Budgeted $55,700 to the school’s budget and transferred $20,000 within the school’s budget.

•Appropriated $13,876 from the unassigned fund balance (UFB) within the county general fund (CGF) to cover the increased cost of county liability insurance for FY22-23.

•Appropriated $8,007 from the UFB within the CGF to cover the new trustee’s bond.

•Appropriated $1,000 from the UFB within Fund 171-capital projects public health/welfare for NWTN development district solid waste services. (20220919-09)

•Appropriated $3,884.40 from the UFB within the CGF to pay civil service board member fees.

•Appropriated $500 from the UFB within the CGF to cover overtime in the county mayor’s office accrued in July and August.

•Appropriated $2,400 from the UFB within the CGF to cover the office rental fee for the economic and community developer.

•Appropriated victim assistance assessment fees of $16,450.02 and remitted to WRAP.

•Appropriated drug court fees of $6,826.69 and remitted to the state.

•Appropriated $227,324.25 of the 2019 CDBG grant from the UFB within Fund 172-community development.

Any citizen who could attend can view the meeting live at For more information, contact the Benton County Mayor’s Office at 731-584-6011. 

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