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Commissioners’ Court Tables New Courtroom Construction, New Voting Machine Purchase

In a 3-2 vote Hopkins County Commissioners’ Court tabled two agenda items that would have allowed the start of building a new 100 seat courtroom attached to the Hopkins County Jail. Although the money is available, commissioners questioned the cost of building the one building versus any savings that would come from building both the courtroom and a building to house the District Attorney and District Clerk offices. The commissioners’ went out for bids on the purchase of 110 and 118 Main Street that currently houses the attorney and clerk offices. However, no bids were received. They had set a base of $400,000 for bids on the building. Commissioner Mickey Barker and County Judge Robert Newsom voted against tabling the motion based on their desire to begin the building.

Commissioners also voted to table the purchase of new voting machines. For some time Debbie Shirley, County Clerk, has wanted to improve the voting equipment in the county. With several payment options offered, a new county clerk coming into office after the first of the year and newer machines easier to learn, and the new machines considered more accurate, Shirley presented her plea for the new machines. Much of the current system used was purchased in 2005 and technology has changed in the voting field over the years. Mike O’Dell stated he thinks the new machines are too expensive. Only two companies in Texas are approved by the Secretary of State to sell the machines. The proposal was presented included a discount in price and an extra year of maintenance by the company presenting the offer. The machines and offer had been approved for the county by the Secretary of State’s office last week. Shirley expressed concern regarding the current voting equipment with the March 6 Primary Election weeks away. The county auditor told the court that there was enough money in the fund balance to pay for the new machines and that other options were available.


Author: Staff Reporter

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