BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Polk County Election Commission discussed the upcoming May 12 Special Election in their regular monthly meeting this morning, April 2. The Commission certified their list of poll workers for the county-wide election to be held May 12, when voters will decide whether or not to approve two sales and use taxes to fund construction and operational costs associated with the proposed new Polk County jail.
The first of the two measures is a permanent ¼ cent Sales and Use Tax for the purpose of an additional source of revenue to be used to “acquire, construct, improve, expand, equip, furnish, operate and maintain new or existing jail and law enforcement facilities, including any necessary land acquisition and utility, road and parking improvements related thereto or in support thereof and to pay and secure the repayment of bonds approved by the voters and issued by the County from time to time to finance jail and law enforcement facilities and facilities related thereto or in support thereof (“Jail and Law Enforcement Bonds”).”
The second measure would levy a new ¾ cent Sales and Use Tax for the purpose of retiring bonds used to construct the new jail. The ¾ cent tax would be used for “a new jail, sheriff’s office, arraignment room, 911 dispatch center, and administrative offices related to law enforcement and any necessary land acquisition and utility, road and parking improvements related thereto and in support thereof.” The bonds would not exceed the voter-authorized amount of $10.9 million.
There will be sixteen polling sites across the county and each site will have 4 poll workers with 2-3 machines at each site in order for voters to have a quick and efficient election process. Unfortunately, Grannis and Vandervoort will not have their own open polling stations for this election but the Commission stated that they have received interest from citizens willing to be trained and ready to open for the 2016 election cycle. For this election, Grannis voters will need to vote at Wickes City Hall and Vandervoort voters will vote at Cove City Hall.
Early voting for the Special Election will be from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, through Friday, May 8, and Monday, May 11, with the Special Election being held on Tuesday, May 12. Early voting will be held at the Polk County Office Complex, located on Pine Street in Mena.
Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison said she has already received requests for absentee ballots. Absentee ballots can be obtained by contacting the County Clerk’s Office at 479-394-8123 and should be requested by May 5. Absentee ballots need to be turned to the County Clerk by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Polk County Sheriff Mike Godfrey was also at the meeting and said he is planning two ‘town hall’ type meetings for the public. One is to be held in Mena and the other will be held in South County. He said dates and times are still in the works but he will release the information when scheduling is complete.