updated 5:39 PM UTC, Jun 5, 2020

Commissioners prepare county for voting season

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By Chris Edwards
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WOODVILLE – During its first regular October meeting, the Tyler County Commissioners Court tackled several agenda items related to the coming election season.

Up first among the election-related items, the court approved a new rate of compensation for election judges and clerks. The rate has been raised to $12 per hour, a figure that is up from the previous payment of $8 per hour. County Clerk Donece Gregory said that the recommended raise is both the maximum amount for election workers allowed by the Secretary of State as well as the recommended compensation by that office.

Gregory also requested to commissioners that one additional clerk be added to each polling place. The reason, she explained, is that with new equipment in the polling places, an additional clerk will be necessary to help acclimate voters with the new equipment. Seven of the county’s polling places have not had electronic voting machines, she said.

The county also voted to move forward with the purchase of electronic poll books for the voting precincts. Gregory said a past grant earmarked for elections paid for poll books for 10 precincts.

Commissioners also voted to approve the appointment for alternate election judges for voting precincts 6, 7 and 10, as well as the movement of the Chester polling place from the city hall to Chester Baptist Church Fellowship Hall.

Courthouse re-roofing discussed
The court approved the go ahead for publication and solicitation of proposals to re-roof the courthouse. County Judge Jacques Blanchette spoke about a meeting he and Precinct 4

Commissioner Buck Hudson had with Dohn LaBiche of LaBiche Architectural Group.

LaBiche, who is working as the preservation architect on the courthouse remediation project, per the Texas Historical Commission’s requirements, showed Blanchette and Hudson some completed drawings representing the scope of work needed to be done for the remediation work. Blanchette said he was highly pleased with the work LaBiche and his firm have done, thus far. LaBiche discovered that the firm could also work on an emergency project such as the roof repair, and the work would be in compliance with THC’s rules.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Martin Nash said it is paramount to get THC’s approval of the roofing job in writing before proceeding with the work. He asked that the motion to move ahead with the publication and solicitation be amended to include that stipulation.

Resignations approved
Commissioners approved two resignations from different boards at its Tuesday meeting. Jim Boone, who has served on the Southeast Texas Groundwater District Board for several years, announced his intention to resign, effective on Dec. 31 of this year.

Henry E. Sawyer, who serves as commissioner for the county’s Emergency Services District #2, also announced an intention to resign with an effective date of Oct. 24.
County Judge Jacques Blanchette said both Boone and Sawyer have been immense assets to the county with their service on the respective boards, and the commissioners court plans to honor them with plaques in the future.

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