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COVER


STORY


Left: Dallas County Judge Jimmy Jones works with Vickey Selman, administrative assistant, in his office. Above: Jones addresses the crowd at the Dallas County Courthouse during its centennial celebra- tion in 2011.


At home & in office


By Scott Perkins County Lines Editor


ty and has served as its county judge since 2001. He’s a family man who applies those values to his community service as well. “My parents deserve a lot of the credit for where I’m at today,” Jones said. “I probably had the most honest set of parents on the planet. I come from humble beginnings and have been blessed in many ways. Tey would give you the shirt off their back if they could. Tey left me a good name.” Jones’ parents ran and operated the Ramsey country store in the late 1940s and early 1950s and they taught a young Jones to work hard and respect others. Receiving respect from a 90-year-old constituent, Mr. Lacey Evans,


D


one April afternoon has stayed with Jones as he continues to define his legacy as judge. “Tis man’s son told me it was his father’s birthday and he was turn-


ing 90,” Jones recalled. “So I headed out to his house to visit with him and take him and his son to dinner. When he got in the truck, he told me, ‘You know I have been paying taxes all my life and I have never had a county judge ask me to get in the vehicle with them.” Jones said elected officials don’t really know whose lives they are touching and that day has always stuck with him. He was sworn-in in 2001 during an ice storm and said his county


was ravaged with floods the next two years as well. His first term was dominated by managing and recovering from acts of nature and trying to help his community save its hospital. Dallas County passed two separate 1-cent sales taxes to support the hospital, and eventually passed a permanent 1-cent sales tax in 2011 to secure the hospital’s future


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allas County Judge Jimmy Jones wears boots and some might say that is his trademark. Tey fit his work ethic and management of the county to a tee. Jones was born and raised in Ramsey in Dallas Coun-


impact on the quality of life in Dallas County. “I’m very proud of the hospital and realized early on just how critical local healthcare is to our community,” Jones said. “If you don’t have healthcare and don’t have this hospital, our community suffers greatly.” He also said Dr. Hugh Albert Nutt and Brian Miller, Dallas County Hospital administrator, have been and continue to be instrumental in the hospital’s vitality. Te courthouse has been improved tremendously since Jones has been at the helm. Improvements to the structure that was built in 1911 include a new roof, new gas and water lines and new paint throughout. “We had a roof that was in bad shape and all those internal lines had to be replaced,” Jones said. About 90 percent of those projects were funded through grants ob- tained through the Arkansas Historical Preservation Program. “We try to do the best we can with our state aid money in our road


department as well and have realized that chip-and-seal roadways are not going to hold up under the volume of truck traffic we have in our county,” Jones said. “It costs more but when we overlay a roadway it is there and can hold up much longer.” Jones said there is a major misconception among the public concern- ing the county judge’s role in county government. “A lot of folks think the county judge’s main job is to keep the roads


repaired and cleaned up,” Jones said. “However, that is a very small part of the county judge’s role.” Jones cited County Road 206 that connects Sparkman to Fordyce as a major infrastructural improvement during his tenure. “Te people of Sparkman had to either drive way out of their way or only on a gravel road to get to Fordyce,” Jones said. “Paving that road was my first state-aid project in Dallas County and gave Sparkman residents a much more efficient path to the courthouse.” Jones summarized some of the accomplishments throughout the county as well and said Vickey Selman, administrative assistant, has been crucial to his office running smoothly.


COUNTY LINES, FALL 2012


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