By Frank Wallis
June 8, 2011
An ordinance, if approved by the Baxter County Quorum Court, would require pawn shop owners in unincorporated areas of the county to report pawn transactions electronically within 48 hours to an online clearinghouse for stolen property called Leads Online.
A report from the Baxter County Sheriff's Office says the cost to the county for membership in Leads Online, a sum being paid this year by the prosecuting attorney's office, would be $2,250. The report, furnished by Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Lewis, indicates Leads Online already has led to the recovery of metal stolen in Baxter County and sold in another jurisdiction.
The sheriff's office already collects pawn transaction reports supplied by pawn dealers weekly. The online reporting system would require pawn transactions to be reported electronically every two days. The electronic reports then would be compared to a vast collection of stolen or missing property data. The measure sets a penalty of $25 a day for pawn dealers who fail to report.
The sheriff proposes to pay the annual fee from funds derived from property seizures and forfeitures in drug cases that result in convictions.
Quorum court members heard a first reading of the ordinance Tuesday evening. Such ordinances are required by law to come before the court three times and be read by title only before voting on the measure after a complete reading at the meeting.
The court heard a first reading of an ordinance that, if approved, would authorize Baxter County Judge Joe Bodenhamer to appoint two additional standing committees from Quorum Court members — an Economic Development Committee and a Legislative Affairs Committee. The court currently has five committees to address issues that come before the court including: Budget, Personnel, Buildings, Environment and Rural Fire.
The ordinance also would require that no quorum court member will serve on more than two committees. The Rural Fire committee is excluded from that provision.
In other business, the court approved the following appropriation ordinances and resolutions: