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Grant will help upgrade precincts

A grant from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Elections Division will help the Decatur County Board of Elections bring its voting places into the 21st century.

County commissioners voted last fall to consolidate 14 of the county’s voting precincts down to just nine, to save money and help ensure that persons with disabilities or limited mobility will find it easier to cast their vote in person during future elections.

The Board of Elections office in the Courthouse Annex counts as a 10th precinct, along with nine others spread around the county’s voting districts.

The U.S. Department of Justice gave its initial approval for the consolidation, allowing the Board of Elections to apply for and receive an approximately $50,000 state government grant that will be used to bring six voting precincts into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At their Tuesday evening meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve a bid of $45,745 from MNG Construction of Valdosta, Ga., for work to bring the six precincts into ADA compliance. Most of the work is related to upgrading the precincts’ bathrooms and wheelchair accessibility, Board of Elections Vice-Chairman Wendell Cofer explained to commissioners.

As MNG’s bid was significantly lower than two other bids, which exceeded the grant amount, the Board of Elections and other county officials did due diligence to make sure the company could satisfactorily perform the work to standards. Cofer said they found that MNG has a good reputation and is a bonded and licensed company.

Other business

Tabled, by unanimous vote, consideration of a proposed timber operations ordinance, following negative comments received on the proposed rules during the meeting’s public participation session. The timber ordinance was detailed in the Wednesday, Feb. 24, issue of The Post-Searchlight.

Approved an alcoholic beverage license for Mandy Weathersby, applicant for Mr. Pip’s, 875 Colquitt Hwy., for sales of beer and wine for off-premises consumption;

Approved a resolution stating the intent of the county to consider closing Sanders-Lambert Road after a public hearing is held at its meeting on March 9. Darryl Boyett, who owns the property that the road bisects, said it was originally a dirt lane established by his parents for them to get to their residence. Boyett asked for the county to stop maintaining the road and said he has drawn up easements that would allow adjacent property owners to continue their use of the road.

Acknowledged the January financial reports submitted by County Treasurer Claude Shirley, who said the county’s budget was in good order.

Held an closed session to discuss personnel and litigation matters. After the open meeting resumed, commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Sandra Brown to the Decatur County Department of Family and Children Services board of directors.