November 15, 2006 Edition

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JPs approve 2007 budget

Amber Adams
Staff Writer

In their regular meeting on Monday night, the Quorum Court approved the 2007 budget, as follows: Projected revenue for 2007 is $2,553,166.80, and projected expenditures are $2,549,529.24. The budget committee recommended holding 10 percent of the budget for emergencies rather than the required five percent.

End of year bonuses for all county employees were also approved by the court.

"We've not been able to give a raise on the front end we've not had the money," said County Judge Alex Latham. "It's the end of the year, and we're in pretty good shape, therefore we can do this one more time."

Latham updated the court on the progress of the ADA updates on the courthouse, saying that with the improvements to the parking lot and outside the building, the courthouse is now 99 percent in compliance with ADA regulations.

During the meeting, several justices expressed concern over the recent election. Justice of the Peace Jim Jones said he believes long wait times and mandatory use of the electronic voting machines will discourage citizens from voting.

"We need to do things to get people to vote, not discourage them, but they won't if they have to wait," Jones said.

Justices discussed that wait time at most polling sites was over an hour. At the Walnut Ridge Community Center several people waited an hour and a half to vote, while citizens at Imboden waited at least 45 minutes.

Latham suggested the hiring of an election coordinator. The coordinator would oversee the entire election process and make sure it goes smoothly.

Other justices suggested offering voters a choice of paper or electronic ballot. The county owns one M100, a machine used for counting paper ballots.

The justices discussed purchasing at least one more machine to make offering paper ballots more efficient. Latham said he would contact the Secretary of State to make sure the court would not be violating any laws by offering voters a choice.

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