Jacque Martin who lives on Sartin Road, where the County is in the process of purchasing land for the road department, addressed the Quorum Court about the purchase of the property. Her concern is that with the road department directly across from her home the traffic will cause issues with the dirt road being maintained. She is also concerned because the last time a company was there they had security lights that shone into her home like daylight. Judge Jerry Holmes assured her that the county would be maintaining the road and they would make sure no lights would be shining towards her home. Discussion was made because not all of the Quorum Court members were aware of the concerns that she had. Martin had requested that they put a seal and overlay from the highway to the driveway. She was also concerned about her property values going down.
JP Brent Foust said, “I have confidence that Judge Holmes will make every effort to keep the road maintained.”
The court then voted to reappoint Phil Grace as the school’s representative to the Board of Equalization and to reappoint Pat McNair as the Quorum Court representative.
JP Steve Choate then read an ordinance regarding appropriating funds to purchase new voting equipment. As previously discussed at Quorum Court new voting equipment is being required for future elections. The County had gotten on the waiting list to receive funding for half of the equipment from the Secretary of State’s office. The County was also able to sell the current equipment back at a cost of $60,872.50 which saved the county some money. The cost of the equipment for the county is $230,999.95 after the sale of the equipment. The original cost would have been $467,539.48 plus $60,872.50.
Judge Holmes invited Joe Tournear of the election commission to speak about the equipment and other changes to happen with the election. Tournear said that they have two things that have to be done before the November election.
1) They had discovered that 12 precincts are not ADA compliant, they will have to be made ADA compliant, if possible.
2) They have to see if all of the 29 precincts have WiFi or a phone connection.
“We can’t say yet where the precincts and polling places will be. We will determine this after the May 22 election.” said Tournear. He went on to say, “Going forward we will have polling sites instead of precincts. Because of the new polling books people will be able to vote anywhere because their ballot will be able to be downloaded to wherever they choose to vote.”
Tournear foresees voting patterns changing once the new machines are used. Other Counties have discovered that people vote in higher numbers at certain locations, Community Centers, Industrial Parks and Walmart. He also said that everyone who has received the new equipment has really been pleased.
“If we didn’t get this equipment now, we might have to wait two years and possibly not get it at all.” Tournear said.
JP Chad Evans said that he had heard that the legislative is working on reimbursing the county for what they will be spending on the new equipment. This has not been confirmed at this point.
Another advantage is that with the new equipment if one polling site is having a heavy volume and another one not, they can pick up one of the machines and take it to the busier site.
When asked, Tournear said the current equipment has been here since the Gore - Bush election (2000).
Tournear said that the new system is all interconnected as far as the equipment so people can’t vote at two different locations. The voter get a paper ballot, which the constituents really like.
Tournear said that at some point when they have discovered where the new precincts/polling sites will be he will come back and discuss it with them.
The Ordinance passed unanimously.
Holmes then mentioned that Rachelle Evans and Rebakah Knew have done a lot of work on the website for the County and it is updated.
A question was asked about some reimbursements with the Community Work Program. Holmes did say the state was a little behind on reimbursements. Holmes also said he has spoken with Jay Cupit about some of the issues.
Rachelle Evans also reminded them that since Early Voting will still be going on during Spring Fest no caps, t-shirts or other campaign items can not be on the grass or inside the courthouse.
With no more business, the court was adjourned.