JPs approve 1st reading of vote center proposal

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Carroll County voters may soon be able to cast their ballots at any polling site they choose in the November general election, regardless of where they live.

The Carroll County Quorum Court on Monday night passed the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would establish “vote centers” for all elections in the county. The proposal will require two more readings and a final vote before becoming law.

The vote center plan would allow any registered voter in the county to cast a ballot at any polling place in the county on election day — for instance, a voter who lives in Berryville but works in Eureka Springs could vote in Eureka Springs, or vice versa.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said District 1 Justice of the Peace Jack Deaton. “People work at one end of the county and try to get off work and get to the other end of the county to vote. A lot of people don’t vote because of that.”

If the proposal is adopted, the county will have a total of six vote centers.

The proposed ordinance was approved by a vote of 7-0 at Monday’s meeting. JPs Craig Hicks, Don McNeely, Matt Phillips and Lamont Richie were absent.

In other business, JPs:

• Approved a resolution appointing Kathy Beahm, Robert Rokeby, C. Lewis Jones, Kevin Creedon and Carol LaRose to serve as commissioners of The Bluffs at Jackson Cove Subordinate Service District;

• Approved an amended resolution authorizing County Judge Sam Barr to execute the necessary documents to renew a line of credit with Equity Bank in Berryville for one year in the name of the Carroll County Airport Commission, after JPs unanimously approved amending the resolution from its original wording, which called for a two-year renewal;

• Approved a resolution authorizing the quorum court to enter a grant agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to construct an “Installation of Visual Aids Project” at the Carroll County Airport;

• Approved a supplemental appropriation ordinance to appropriate $1,680 from the county’s general fund for the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District;

• Approved a supplemental appropriation ordinance transferring a total of $6,500 from the county’s general fund to pay for ongoing repairs at the Eastern District Courthouse and computer upgrades in the county judge’s office;

• approved a supplemental appropriations ordinance transferring $4,500 from the county’s general fund to pay for the installation of a new phone system in the east courthouse annex for the county assessor, collector and treasurer;

• and approved rescheduling next month’s meeting from Sept. 17 to Sept. 24.

All of the votes were 7-0.

During the period of the meeting reserved for JPs’ comments, District 7 JP Noreen Watson discussed several points from a statewide meeting that she recently attended. Deaton said he met recently with Sam Ward, who is overseeing the transition of the county’s 911 and central dispatch operations from the eastern district courthouse to the complex that houses the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and detention center. Deaton said he expects that move to be made as soon as the first week of September.

Chief deputy prosecuting attorney Devon Still, who has served as legal counsel for the quorum court, told the JPs that she has accepted a position in Boone County and that Monday would be her final quorum court meeting. Still said she has been with the prosecuting attorney’s office for 13 years. She said deputy prosecuting attorney Craig Parker likely will assume the role of legal counsel for the quorum court.

The quorum court’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, in the courtroom of the Carroll County Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville.

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