Pulaski County Offices Closed for July 3 in Observance of Independence Day

Pulaski County Offices are closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day. Garbage routes will run as normal. The sanitation office is closed Friday for the holiday.

Pulaski County recognizes Juneteenth as holiday for employees

In observance of Juneteenth Pulaski County offices will be closed Friday June 19th, 2020.
Please click here to read Executive Order from Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde.

Notice of Public Hearing – Development Code and Master Road Plan

The Pulaski County Planning Board will hold a Public Informational Hearing on proposed amendments to the Pulaski County Subdivision and Development Code and the Pulaski County Master Road Plan on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020 at 3:00 pm.  The meeting will be a call-in video conference meeting.  An invitation to all interested parties will be forthcoming.  Copies of the Amended Pulaski County Subdivision and Development Code and Master Road Plan can be obtained from the Pulaski County Planning & Development office located at 3200 Brown Street, Little Rock.  You may call 501-340-8260 for additional information.

Notice of Public Hearing on Application for Community Development Block Grant Program

A virtual Public Hearing via the Zoom App will be held Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 10 a.m., for the purpose of identifying and prioritizing the community needs of Pulaski County, determining whether an application for Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program (ACEDP) funds should be developed and if so, for what community need. Also, comments on proposed project activities will be discussed, especially those with possible impacts on the community, should the project receive funding.

ACEDP funds are federal assistance received by the State of Arkansas and administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. These funds will be made available to cities and counties according to need and can be used for community facilities, public infrastructure, or economic development, but must address one of the following objectives:

  1. Provide benefit to low- and moderate-income families,
  2. Aid in the prevention of slum and blight, or
  3. Meet other community needs, which pose a serious, immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where no other funding is available to meet such needs.

All residents of Pulaski County are encouraged to attend the virtual hearing and participate in the community development process. Pulaski County will provide technical assistance in developing proposals by groups representing low- and moderate-income persons.

Individuals requiring physical or sensory accommodations including interpreter service, Braille, large print, or recorded materials, please contact Kimberly Simpson at (501) 340-3343 no later than May 27, 2020. Accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and non-English speaking individuals provided that a 3-day notice is received by the Pulaski County.

To join the Zoom public hearing use the following information:
Meeting ID: 867-023-8728
Access Code: 2GcZ7N

EPA Announces Six-Figure Grant to Pulaski County for Brownfields program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Pulaski County, Ark., and the Southwest Arkansas Planning & Development District announced $600,000 in total grant money. The funding—$300,000 for each recipient—is provided by EPA’s Brownfields Program for cleanup and assessment of abandoned or contaminated properties (known as brownfields).

Pulaski County will receive $300,000 for assessments in East Little Rock and the 21st Corridor, which runs between Main and I-30 in Little Rock.

County Judge Barry Hyde said, “We’ve enjoyed a great partnership with the EPA in the past years. County staff, Community Services Director Fred Love and brownfields administrator Josh Fout have been very successful in using the funds. With the exception of Our House, most have been private development in Little Rock and North Little Rock’s Argenta Community. We’ve got an energized staff and look forward to more success and more rewards.”

Youth Services Summer Programs Go Virtual in Spite of Virus National Grip

With schools closed, afterschool programs shuttered and summer programs in the balance, what is an agency that provides services to the youth of Pulaski County to do?  Keep with its spirit and passion of supporting youth of our county, that’s what!

“That’s who we are,” Pulaski County Youth Services Director Jamie Scott said. “My staff is committed to the parents and kids in our programs. I feel it is important that we stay connected and give them a sense of normalcy during an ‘abnormal’ event.”

Faced with social distancing directives from the governor, Pulaski County Youth Services brainstormed ways in which to keep their parents and participants engaged. PCYS plans to launch a virtual programming campaign through the department’s Facebook page to include virtual college tours, weekly reading led by community leaders, and exercise programs with PCYS partners.

“The idea of virtual programming started with Virtual Signing Day,” said Scott. “Our seniors are graduating this year without the pomp and circumstance. Many have been in our programs for years. This was our way of celebrating their accomplishments,” she said. “It has been well received by the students and parents. We’ve even showcased our own staff who have completed college degrees.”

PCYS is also providing virtual educational, artistic and fun courses for youth of all ages as well as their parents. Beginning in May, we have a myriad of activities that the families of Pulaski County can participate in, including: Social and Emotional Health Sessions, Language – Spanish and Sign Language Sessions, Fitness – Cardio and Yoga Sessions, Arts – Painting and Cookie Decorating Sessions, Recess – Fun and Dancing with DJ Dez and much more! Keep up with the latest PCYS programs and visit the PCYS Facebook page for more information.

2020 Census Takes a Hit During Pandemic

Census 2020 marks the first time U.S. citizens have the ability to complete the census online. This is welcomed news to many, as it should make participation easier. Getting a complete count in Arkansas was promising.  Committees around the state were doing their part in getting out the count. Cities and counties banded together and reached out to residents to encourage the completion of the Census through traditional and social media. COVID-19 soon proved to be a pretty large road block between outreach and the people, bringing most outreach to a halt and self-response rates to a crawl.

Arkansas ranks between 36th and 38th place in self-response. Pulaski County moves among the ranks between 10th and 12th place; cities within the county range from second place to 304th place out of 499 Arkansas cities. The pandemic has hampered in-person outreach across the state, and for Pulaski County, in-person outreach is imperative to getting a complete count in our historically hard-to-count areas.

But there is good news! The U.S. Census plans to drop off paper forms to households without physical mailing addresses this month in the Little Rock and Fayetteville areas. The U.S. Census has also adjusted its timeline to offset the impact of the pandemic. Census takers will begin to canvas communities in August through October. Pulaski County hopes to resume in-person community outreach in June and July.

Please encourage friends and family to complete the census at https://my2020census.gov/.

Public Works Rolls On

Over the course of the public health crisis, Pulaski County Public Works has overcome some challenges.  But one thing is for sure, the department has kept rolling along. The county’s maintenance needs do not take time off; potholes must be filled, trash services still have routes to run, right-of-ways must be cut and mosquitos still get sprayed.

In January, Public Works Director Steve Brummett preemptively worked with his directors to design a plan of action complete with rotating schedules and essential staffing needs. One important task was adjusting employee schedules to ensure their safety.  When the county judge declared a state of emergency, our directors were ready.

Social distancing measures were implemented such as separate staff meetings instead of group meetings.  Drivers are required to ride alone and are required to sanitize vehicles with disinfectant daily instead of weekly.  When crews are out in the field, they are encouraged to social distance and wear as much PPE as they can and still work safely. Office staff wear face masks and a jug of hand sanitizer is easily accessible. Anyone who believes they have been exposed to the virus are sent home.

“We are taking a business as usual approach while staying safe,” Steve Brummett said. “By installing preventive measures, my staff and I believe Public Works can continue to provide services to county residents.”

Office of Emergency Management Kick Into High Gear

County Judge Barry Hyde declared a state of emergency on March 13 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Pulaski County Office of Emergency Management has been in full swing, keeping volunteer fire departments supplied with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and additional emergency response training.

“We had a stockpile of gloves and R-95 masks, but those went quickly. We were able to get more from the Federal Strategic National Stockpile, but those also went quickly, so now we have more than 4,000 masks and 12 cases of gloves ordered,” County OEM Director Andy Traffanstedt said.

Once received, many of the masks and gloves will go to volunteer fire departments and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to providing supplies and training, the emergency management staff updates the governor’s office daily with news of cases or developments.  They are also in constant contact with the 911 call center and Arkansas Department of Health to collect information. This information is used to create situation reports which are given to the county judge to determine the best course of action moving forward.

Even as the county works through the pandemic, the Office of Emergency Management is on-call 24 hours per day for all matter of emergencies, including natural disasters.

“Disasters and emergencies still happen; the Office of Emergency Management doesn’t quarantine,” Traffanstedt said. “Like the tornadoes in Jonesboro on March 28, we were called out to assist, even during the pandemic.”

County Keeps Employees and Visitors Safe During Pandemic

On Thursday, March 12, Governor Asa Hutchinson made an announcement that public schools in Jefferson, Pulaski, Saline, Lonoke and Faulkner Counties were closing. On that day we learned that Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) had come to Central Arkansas.

Pulaski County leadership went into immediate action.  County Judge Barry Hyde, County Attorney Adam Fogleman and Chief of Staff/Chief Financial Officer Mike Hutchens put a plan in place to restrict building access and communicate with department supervisors about implementing continuity plans. The first executive order was filed March 13 to restrict access to all county buildings.

As the virus progressed and moved through the county and the state, Judge Hyde continued to communicate with the county medical officer, Tobias Vancil, M.D. on best practices. Hyde has extended his original order three times since the first filing and continues to monitor the environment.

“We’ve definitely learned a lot through this public health crisis in terms of how to improve communication across departments and divisions,” County Judge Barry Hyde said. “When the news broke of the first cases, my first priority was to the people that work and visit our buildings. It took some adjustments but we [judges, county elected officials, quorum court members] made those adjustments together.”

In addition to communicating with employees, Pulaski County began to communicate with residents through social media, Nextdoor and email.

“I must acknowledge the work of the Arkansas Department of Health and Department of Emergency Management that reach a vast majority of county residents with their COVID messaging,” Communications Director Cozetta Jones said. “The county has focused on the unincorporated areas such as Ferndale, Woodson, Higgins and North Pulaski County. Having strong relationships with those communities makes it easier to get the word out.”

Pulaski County will continue to restrict access to county buildings through May 17 and has implemented additional policies to further protect its employees. All employees who enter county buildings are required to wear masks at all times and security guards take the temperature of those employees; no one enters with a temperature of 100.4 or higher.

“It’s not over,” said Hyde. “Governor Hutchinson has relaxed some restrictions in Arkansas but as Public Health Officials have stated, it’s important that we continue to social distance and wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible,” he said. “We will get through this, but we must do it responsibly and with care.”