County officials: Funds requested to improve voting equipment

NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County officials will be seeking funds to improve its voting equipment and security for upcoming elections.

During Thursday’s meeting, the Hancock County Commission approved a request from the Office of Technology and Communications to apply for a Help America Vote Act grant.

According to Executive Director Bob Vidas, the grant, which goes through the West Virginia Secretary of State, would allow Hancock County to improve security for election data and upgrade their voting equipment.

The grant offers a 50 percent match for voting equipment, along with an 85 percent match for security upgrades. These grants will be awarded based on population for counties that apply.

Along with this, the commission approved a motion to enter into a contractual agreement with the Secretary of State to receive and administer funds pursuant to the provisions of this act.

The commission also approved the adoption of the Emergency Absentee Voting Policy for the Nov. 6 general election. The policy, which remains the same as in the past, is for those who are hospitalized or in a nursing home within the county and wouldn’t physically be able to vote.

In related business, the commission approved the appointments of JoEllen Kessel — representing the Republican party — and Stephanie Wuebbles — representing the Democratic party — as emergency absentee ballot commissioners for the November elections.

In other business:

• The commission approved a motion to re-advertise on the county website for part-time animal shelter workers and a part-time dog warden. Animal shelter employees’ minimum duties include multi-tasking and cleaning of kennels and cages, exercising the animals, providing care and feeding of animals, assisting the veterinary technician and other duties. Part-time dog wardens, meanwhile, must be capable of being bonded to carry a firearm and pass firearm qualifications, lift 80-100 pounds and be agile enough to capture animals on all terrain. Wardens will also be required to enforce animal-related laws, investigate reported dog bites and reports of animals attacks or abuse, and capture stray and injured animals. Applications are available at the Hancock County Animal Shelter on Gas Valley Road in New Manchester, and must be submitted no later than 4 p.m. Aug. 24.

• The commission accepted the resignation of Tax Deputy Cheryl Meadows, which went into effect Aug. 3 as Meadows sought other employment. Also approved was her request to use her final 1.5 personals days for Aug. 2 and 3 along with any accrued vacation to be paid to her in her final day. As a result, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department placed a request to advertise for the open tax deputy position, which was approved by the commission.

Also related to the sheriff’s office, the commission approved the inclusion of Christopher Allen of New Cumberland, to serve as a member of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Reserve.

• The commission approved the payment of the general county bills amounting to $163,309.40, along with P-card payments of $55,901.17. Total expenditures for the county for July amounted to $816,194.49.

The next meeting will be 2:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the commission meeting room at the Hancock County Courthouse.


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