December 10, 2020

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District, Inc. (SEAEDD) was held December 10, 2020 via Zoom video call at 11:30 am.
Judge Mack Ball, Board President, called the meeting to order.
Judge Ball asked if there were any corrections or additions to the Minutes of the October 8, 2020 meeting, as mailed. There being none, Mayor Denisa Pennington moved they be approved. Seconded by Mrs. Nita McDaniel. Motion carried.
Judge Ball referred to the Financial Statements in the Board folders. Judge Randy Pruitt made a motion to approve the statements. Seconded by Mayor Flora Simon. Motion carried.
Judge Ball called on Ms. Patrecia Hargrove for an update on staff reports. Ms. Hargrove stated that she is still waiting on the INFRA grant agreement for our railroad rehabilitation project, and that Louisiana is having an issue with the property located between Lake Providence Port and Madison Parish Port, but this issue will not negatively affect the project. She stated that BKD was in our office the week of October 26, 2020 to audit our financials for year ending June 30, 2020. She expects the audit to be completed by the next board meeting.
Ms. Hargrove stated that the SEAEDD offices are still closed to the public, especially with the increasing numbers of COVID case. She stated that as of today, the District has only had one positive case in one of the workforce offices and that person will complete their quarantine on Friday and will be back in the office on Monday. She stated that all SEAEDD Offices will be closed on Thursday December 24th and Friday December 25th for the Christmas holiday; as well as Friday January 1, 2021 for New Year’s Day.
Ms. Hargrove called on Mr. Eddie Thomas for the Workforce Development Staff Report. Mr. Eddie Thomas reported that a target focus in workforce development has been governance and compliance. He referenced that the Chief Elected Officials Board and the SEAWDB had both recently made actions that would assist in resolving pending findings from USDOL. Mr. Thomas mentioned that representatives from the workforce staff had attended a national youth virtual symposium and felt confident that the conference was beneficial. He stated that Southeast should expect to see new ideas, innovations, and initiatives implemented over the next year.
Mr. Thomas stated that the TANF- funded Ineligible for Lost Wages Assistance Program was still underway and that approximately 80 needy families had been served by the program. He also stated that the business services division had been working hard to continue with apprenticeship training throughout the district.
Mr. Thomas called on Gary Goggans to provide a report of the Workforce Centers. Mr. Goggans discussed various services available through the WIOA program and encouraged board members to refer customers to the centers.

SEAEDD Board of Director Meeting December 10, 2020
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Ms. Hargrove called on Mrs. Hayley Brakebill for a report. Mrs. Brakebill stated that on November 5, the City of Altheimer held a walk through and close out meeting for the Main Street resurfacing project and the second public hearing was held on November 18, 2020. She stated that close out is being submitted for the Cleveland County Childcare project. She stated that grant signings for the Hermitage water project and Eudora emergency shelter project were held on October 22, 2020. She stated that the six rural hospitals that were awarded COVID funding are working to submit invoices and back up documentation to AEDC for reimbursement, and the availability of funds expires December 31, 2020. She stated that the hospitals were offered an option to extend through September 2021. She stated that the City of Banks was awarded $75,000 to fund the completion of the interior of the new fire station, and an advertisement for Requests for Qualifications for Engineering firms was published for the SEAEDD Railroad Siding project on November 22, 2020. She stated that the deadline for RFQ responses is December 16, 2020. She stated that the Wilmar DRA project for sewer improvements was closed out in late November, and the Cleveland County water project with both DRA and EDA funding is nearing completion and close out. Final inspection of the EDA portion of the project will take place on December 11, 2020. Mrs. Brakebill encouraged the Board to see the Upcoming Grant Opportunity list and to contact her as soon as possible to start new projects.
Judge Ball gave a report from the Executive Committee & Finance Committee. He stated that the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District Executive Committee and Finance Committee met on December 2, 2020 and on December 9, 2020 and had a quorum at both meetings.
He stated that the Committees are recommending the following Financial Procedure Manual updates:

  1. SEAEDD needs to clarify its roles as the Fiscal Agent and the Administrative Services Entity/Board Staff under the Southeast Arkansas Workforce Development Area workforce system
  2. SEAEDD needs to revise its travel reimbursement policy to read “GSA Federal Travel Regulations Rate” (retroactive to 2/26/2020)
  3. SEAEDD needs to include language detailing solid waste program purchasing requirements for parts and labor on repairs to equipment (this entire section on solid waste was drafted by our attorney).
  4. SEAEDD Personnel Policy needs to include language that all leave that is requested through a verbal conversation, phone call or mobile text must be backed with a follow-up email with their Supervisor’s approval or denial to validate the request (retroactive to January 28, 2020).
    Mr. Sam Angel made a motion to approve the changes retroactive to February 26, 2020 and January 28, 2020. Seconded by Mayor Crystal Marshall. Motion carried.
    Judge Ball stated that the Committees recommended approving obtaining a USDA guarantee loan from Simmons Bank for $400,000 up to 30 years @ 4.25% adjustable every five years. He stated that this loan will be used toward the completion of the new SEAEDD Headquarters in Pine Bluff. Mr. Sam Angel made a motion to approve the loan. Seconded by Judge Richard Tindall. Motion carried.
    Judge Ball stated that SEAEDD Staff has submitted the proposed Consolidated Annual Financial Plan which is the overall budget, and the updated Programmatic Resources for the fiscal year. He stated that the Committees are recommending approving the budget adjustments and make them retroactive to July 1, 2020. Mayor Joe Dan Yee made a motion to approve. Seconded by Mrs. Nita McDaniel. Motion carried.

SEAEDD Board of Director Meeting December 10, 2020
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Judge Ball referred to the Unemployment Statistics, included in the Board folders.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on February 11, 2021 in Pine Bluff.
There being no other business, Mayor Flora Simon made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Mrs. Nita McDaniel. Motion carried, and the meeting was adjourned.

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