With 2022 set to be a major election year locally, the Grayson County Fiscal Court on Tuesday voted to approve the purchase of new voting machines and election equipment for the Grayson County Clerk’s Office.
During Tuesday afternoon’s regular fiscal court meeting, Grayson County Clerk Charlotte Willis addressed the need for her office’s voting machines, which are around 20 years old, to be replaced.
According to Willis, the age of the county’s voting machines has made it impossible to have them repaired as replacement parts are no longer made for those models.
Willis said she applied and received approval for federal funding — which will reimburse at least $2,200 for each of Grayson County’s 22 precincts for a total of $48,400 — to help offset the cost of the machines and accompanying equipment, and, depending on how many other Kentucky counties apply for this funding, Grayson County may receive more.
The total cost for the new voting machines, as well as the equipment that accompanies them, will be $258,825, according to Willis, who added that the hope is the new machines will have at least as long of a life-span as the current ones.
Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson said the age of the county’s current voting machines has been an issue for years and must be addressed; though the cost will make the purchase something the county will need to finance.
Concluding the discussion, the fiscal court passed a motion to approve the purchase of new voting equipment for $258,825 minus the $48,400 in federal funding, and then passed a second motion to finance the purchase through Magnolia Bank for five years at a 2.85% interest rate.
Willis said that, because training on the new machines will be required for her staff and the poll workers, the machines will probably not be ready for use by next May’s primary election, but they will be ready by next November’s general election.
In other business, the fiscal court heard and approved the first reading of the second amendment to the county’s ordinance relating to the establishment of the Grayson County Tourism Commission and transient room tax.
According to Grayson County Attorney Jeremy Logsdon, this amendment was drafted upon the request of the Grayson County Tourism Commission, whose members noticed that many organizations operating as accommodation businesses (such as motels, hotels, and inns) were not paying the required transient room tax, which is used to fund county tourism.
Previously, the county’s ordinance contained no specific penalty for failing to pay this tax, so Logsdon drafted an amendment that would make the willful failure to fill out and return the reporting form and pay the transient room tax a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no less than $200 but not more than $500, confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed 12 months, or both.
Henderson noted that Grayson County Tourism’s annual budget is around $50,000, the majority of which is used to pay the salary of the Grayson County Tourism Director.
The first reading of this amendment was approved by the fiscal court.