Panel recommends buy of early voting website | Information

Members of the County-Owned Property Committee voted Thursday to ask Washington County commissioners to buy a former {hardware} constructing in Jonesborough to satisfy the early voting wants of the county’s Election Fee.

The advice to purchase the Olde Towne Ace {Hardware} constructing, 220 N. 2nd Ave., now goes to the county’s Finances Committee assembly subsequent week.

“The time to do one thing is now,“ mentioned County Commissioner Danny Edens, who made the movement to buy the 10,700-square-foot property.

County Commissioner Mike Ford agreed, telling his colleagues a choice on the matter has been “delay, and kicked round for years.”

The committee’s vote adopted a dialogue with Election Fee officers in regards to the workplace’s house wants. Election Commissioner Jon Ruetz advised committee members: “Our scenario is dire way of house.”

Even so, County Commissioner Jodi Jones, who forged the lone “no” in a voice vote on the movement, mentioned she wish to see the county develop a plan to “maximize the usage of the house” on the former {hardware} property.

Washington County officers are reviewing their choices for renewing the lease on the previous Jonesborough ironmongery store, which was used as an early voting website final yr. The county’s one-year lease on the ability expired in January.

The proprietor of the property, former Jonesborough Alderman David Promote, has granted the county a 60-day time extension for making a choice on the property.

Commissioners voted in January 2020 to approve a request from the Election Fee to lease the constructing — positioned throughout U.S. Freeway 11E from the George P. Jaynes Justice Middle — at a value of $77,500.

Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy advised the property committee that the unique asking worth for the constructing was greater than the property’s appraisal, however famous the proprietor is “versatile, to some extent, on the acquisition worth.”

Election officers initially approached county commissioners in 2019 with a plan to purchase the outdated {hardware} property for $975,000, and use one other $345,000 to make renovations to the constructing.

The Election Fee distributed a letter to the property committee noting that its members visited greater than 20 areas searching for any “workable choices for early voting websites,” together with a attainable substitute to the previous Princeton Arts Middle website in Johnson Metropolis.

Ruetz mentioned the Election Fee is at capability on the Princeton Arts website, which could possibly be changed house now being negotiated at Freedom Corridor. He mentioned the Grey Commons early voting website is at 90% of its utilization.

He mentioned the outdated {hardware} property provided the Election Fee the most effective alternative to satisfy its rising calls for.

Election officers mentioned the November 2020 election noticed almost 70% of Washington County residents voting early, representing 37,454 votes out of a complete 54,601 votes forged.

Ruetz mentioned a median of 1,000 voters used every of the early voting websites in the course of the November presidential election.

In its letter to the property committee, the Election Fee wrote that it started a seek for a brand new early voting website in 2018 after studying “ likelihood” the house it had been utilizing within the basement of Washington County Courthouse had been “reassigned to a different county division.”

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