The New Year brings new leadership to Craighead County. KASU News Director Johnathan Reaves visited with newly elected County Judge Marvin Day and files this report.
Craighead County Judge Marvin Day is entering in his first full week leading the county. Day was previously an engineer with City Water and Light in Jonesboro. He spent six months of last year working under former County Judge Ed Hill to learn the ropes and get ready for taking over the county. Hill did not run for re-election and retired. Day says he is thankful for the training that he received to get ready for being the next county judge. Day says he wants to run the county in more of a business model. He believes it could help the county be more efficient as it works with a 30 million dollar budget this year.
“We are not broke, but things are tight,” says Day. “We have a reasonable reserve for emergencies, but we need to prioritize how to fund major projects.”
With a tight budget, Day says he will be reviewing how projects are done to make sure they will last for the long term. He uses county roads as an example. He says he wants improvements to county roads that would make them good for a 30 year life cycle.
“Nothing is more frustrating for citizens than seeing the county pave a county road, or make repairs, and then have to come back to work on the same areas in six months. We will make sure that we are making long-term improvements to county roads when we do work on them. I think this will help us use our resources wisely.”
As Day discussed what his goals are for 2019, he says he wants to have better communication between the county and the citizens. He tells what he is working on now.
“We have to make much needed improvements to the county’s telephone systems, as well as updating and improving the county’s website. We want to be transparent and open with the citizens, and I think this will help in that regard.”
Day says he may also get requests about additional court room space or possibly expanding the county jail. To help him be better informed in those areas, he says he wants to put together a committee to provide him insight.
“I am not a lawyer, so I want to make sure that I am properly informed when I have to make decisions pertaining to the criminal justice system,” says Day. “I want to form a committee that can help provide information on needs and how to move forward.”
Day says with the upcoming legislative session in Little Rock, there is one big priority that county judges across the state have…improvements to the 911 system.
“The current 911 system is running off of old systems and revenue streams that don’t take into account the use of cell phones today,” says Day. Not a lot of people have landlines anymore, so we need to make sure that we have better technology and better revenue streams to help us properly do our jobs. This is a huge priority.”
He says the improvements in technology to 911 in Craighead County are needed to ensure public safety. He says currently about 50-thousand dollars in revenue comes in to the system and it costs 350-thousand dollars to run 911. He says improvements can help bring in more revenue it help it run more efficiently. He says he is also working on the crisis stabilization unit for Craighead County. And for county employees, Day says he wants to hire a Human Resources manager. Day will lead his first county quorum court meeting next Monday night.