Sunday, July 20, 2008
Council rejects voter fraud
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
PAYNE SPRINGS–On a 3-2 vote, the Payne Springs City Council decided not to prosecute the 20 individuals who illegally voted in the May 10 city election.
Tuesday’s vote followed an impassioned plea by Karen Juica to send a strong message that “the city will no longer tolerate voter fraud.”
Those for sending the names to the Henderson County District Attorney’s office were Odell Terrell and Rodney Renberg. Those opposing the measure were Vic Brazzell, Carl Powell and Lynn Sorrell.
Earlier in the meeting, the council heard of one gross abuse by a voter listing Mayor J.T. Noble’s hay acreage as their address.
“Let me assure you, there is no one living in my hay field,” Noble said.
Though the abuse seemed blatant, the majority of the council declined prosecution because both the election judge and assistants, as well as the county, may also be cited – perhaps even the city.
“Does the city bear some responsibility for this happening?” Powell asked.
“I think it’s enough that the mayor has cleaned up the list with the county registrar’s office,” Brazzell said. “All those who voted were authorized to do so by the county voters registrar.”
Noble, Juica and others went through every name and address to verify which individuals were truly living within the city limits and who were not.
“There were between 180 and 190 names on the list that either should not have been listed, or should have been listed and were not,” Noble said. “I have been to every address and verified with the county, so the list should be cleaned up now.”
This is not a new problem, Juica told the council.
The spidery-like boundary lines that encompass the major roadways and skirt around other residents has been a source of trouble to the city for a long time, she pointed out. Efforts to redraw boundary lines and annex properties have been unsuccessful thus far.
In other business, the council:
• changed its general rule to allow for a biennial audit of the city’s financial records, starting the compilation this year. The move is expected to save the city about $2,500.
• took no action on a request to use police vehicles by off-duty officers to perform security inside the city.
• heard Bill Casey, the Democratic candidate for Henderson County Sheriff, outline his qualifications and reforms he would bring to the department.
A past military man, he said promotions would be based on performance reports, as well as time served, as it is done in the armed services.
• heard the difference between replacing a blown motor in police vehicle (No. 51) with a rebuilt engine, and buying a new engine from Tri-County Ford was $300. The new engine comes with a 36-month/100,000 mile warranty.
• heard a BlackBrush representative has been rescheduled to talk to the city council about a proposed sour gas well Tuesday, Aug 19.
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