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2,000 voters affected by new lines

Election issues, fire protection improvement and other mattersreceived Lincoln County supervisors’ attention during a routinemeeting Monday.

Circuit Clerk Terry Lynn Watkins spoke to the board aboutpublishing in the newspaper a map of the county’s new districtlines following last year’s redistricting. The map would be inaddition to directly notifying by mail the voters who have beenaffected by the new lines.

“We’ve got close to 2,000 changes,” Watkins said.

That number conflicted somewhat with census totals thatindicated around 800 people would be affected by theredistricting.

Bob Allen, board of supervisors attorney, explained thatWatkins’ totals involved both precinct and district changes. Thecensus totals showed only voters who would be in differentdistricts.

“What the justice department looks at is census maps,” Allensaid in discussing the redistricting pre-clearance process.

Supervisors also mentioned a few roads that were apparentlymissed in census map totals.

Allen indicated that was not unusual. He also pointed out thatcensus totals were collected in 2000, and that census and votertotals could vary for several reasons.

“This happens,” Allen said. “There’s always some shifts inpopulation there.”

After some consideration of having only areas affected by theredistricting published, supervisors agreed to get the countywidemap published. Watkins said she would begin that process Monday andsupported the decision.

“I think we need the whole county,” Watkins said. “Otherwise, Ithink it’s just going to be real confusing.”

Watkins said she is continuing to administratively reregistervoters affected by district line changes. She showed supervisors acopy of the letter that is accompanying voters’ new registrationcards in the mail out.

“We’ll have a lot of those going out today,” Watkins said.

In other election matters, county Republican Executive CommitteeChairman Chuck Nelms spoke to the board about getting precinctvoting places ready for the Aug. 5 primaries.

At the City Hall precinct in District 3, county officials areconsidering where in the chamber of commerce building people willvote.

In recent elections, voters have done so in a room inside thechamber office. However, with that room now being used as U.S. Rep.Chip Pickering’s field office, officials are looking at once againusing the old fire station elsewhere in the chamber building.

“I’ve got to see how that’s coming,” said District 3 SupervisorNolan Earl Williamson.

FIRE DEPARTMENTS

In February, volunteer fire department officials spoke tosupervisors about a five-year plan to reduce departments’ ratingsfrom class 10 to class 8. That issue resurfaced Monday as Allen wasappointed to meet with Jim Craig, volunteer firefighter associationpresident, and Clifford Galey, safety coordinator, about theplan.

The three are expected to meet to discuss the plan and thencontact the state Fire Ratings Bureau to get a cost estimate topursue the work. Galey said county officials need the cost estimatebefore deciding how to proceed.

“That’s where we’re at now,” Galey said.

Volunteer fire officials have said the improved ratings wouldsave homeowners over $4 million in lower fire insurancepremiums.

PUBLIC DEFENDER

In other business Monday, supervisors accepted therecommendation of David Linzey as assistant public defender for thecounty. Linzey fills a vacancy created when Gus Sermos was promotedto public defender after Lesa Baker resigned last month.

“We’re going to continue providing as good of representation aspossible to any people we are appointed to represent,” Sermossaid.

Supervisors approved renewal of a three-year lease with WasteManagement for the company to use the transfer station. In a letterrequesting the contract extension, Waste Management officials saidthey would forego a price increase and the tipping fee fordisposing of garbage would remain at $33.30 a ton until at leastAugust 2004.

“I say let’s do it,” Williamson said about the extension.

The contract extension must also be approved by the city.

TAX ROLLS

In property matters, Tax Assessor-Collector Nancy Jordanpresented tax rolls for 2003.

According to the rolls, the county has 22,606 parcels with atotal assessed value of $112.63 million and personal businessproperty at $29.02 million. Tax rolls are used in conjunction withmillage rates in calculating property tax revenue for thecounty.

Jordan also mentioned plans for developing new aerial maps ofcounty properties. She said that will need to be done by 2005.

In another county oversight matter, County Administrator DavidFields said new Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB)guidelines will that county roads and bridges be capitalized foraccounting purposes.

“We’ve got to put a value on all our roads and bridges,” Fieldssaid.

Fields presented supervisors will a list of roads and bridgesand asked them to identify whether they are paved or gravel. Fieldssaid he wanted to get as much information as possible.

“What we want to get is some kind of logical value on thebalance sheet for our roads and bridges,” Fields said.