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By Jackie Zimmerman/The Hesperian-Beacon—
Floyd County Commissioners approved entering into a contract with First United Methodist Church of Lockney to use the building as a polling location.
During the Oct. 13 meeting, County Judge Marty Lucke said he had contacted the church about paying a per day fee to use the church during elections. Lucke said no one at the church had responded to him about their ideas on a cost per day, so he recommends setting a cost of $50 per day based on research he has done of other counties.
The court unanimously voted to enter into a contract with First United Methodist Church to pay the church of $50 per day to use the facility during elections.
The court also approved purchasing new voting machines with Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grant funds. The county received $120,000 in HAVA grants funds and will use $74,329 to purchase three election machines dedicated for disabled individuals and nine regular voting units. Lucke said these additional machines will double the county’s capacity. He said in the Spring elections the county could encounter issues of not having enough machines available if the state will not allow the same machines to be used on Election Day that are used during early voting.
The county applied for the HAVA funds earlier this year and received the check before the end of its fiscal year. The funds were put into the budget under non-departmental, so the county has a line item it can the funds from for these type uses, Lucke said.
The balance of the $120,000 grant will be used to establish a hot spot in Lockney during the election as well as upgrading election security to comply with a security assessment provided by the State. The funds, Lucke said, can be used for items related to voting and election security.
The court also approved establishing the hot spot. The project was discussed at the last meeting, but the court failed to vote on it.
In other business, the court tabled action concerning an invoice for an air ambulance to transport an inmate from Dimmit to UMC. Lucke said the bill to the county was for $61,908, and he explained the county is only liable for $30,000 per year per person and added the county has already spent $8,000. He said he is waiting on clarification as to what is actually due.
Commissioners also approved continuing the Disaster Declaration for COVID-19 until the next commissioners court meeting. Lucke said he had mixed emotions about extending it until he read an email concerning the funds associated with the declaration. The county can use the funds to pay deputy salaries since they are in continuous risk of the getting the virus.
The court also approved declaring items on county property as salvage so it can be removed, and the property cleaned up. If someone wants to haul off what has been declared salvage, they can contact the judge or commissioners. The discussion centered around the property across from the old PAC building and precinct barns.
Commissioners also approved a proposal from Skeeter Smith to construct a fence down the east side of Forest Lawn Cemetery. The court received two proposals, both from Smith, who is the brother of a county commissioner. The fence will have gates at each end with locks. The funeral home and the county judge will have keys along with the person who takes care of the cemetery. The fence is to keep people from driving into the cemetery. People will be able to walk in, Lucke said.
The project was approved with Commissioner Smith abstaining from the vote.
In other business, the court approved purchasing a copier machine for Texas Agri-Life. Lucke said its time for an upgrade the Xerox C8130 and the monthly fee will go up about $7 per month for the new equipment. He added there has been issues with the current copier and it needs to be replaced.
The court heard a report from Texas Agri-Life and discussed a COVID-19 outbreak at Floydada and Lockney ISD.
Commissioners’ present for the Oct. 13 meeting were Tanner Smith, Nathan Johnson, Clint Bigham and David Martinez.
The Commissioners’ Court will meet next month on Monday, Nov. 9 at 8 a.m.