VIENNA — Absentee voting for the Aug. 4 Primary Election is in progress at the Maries County Clerk’s Office in the courthouse and office staff are doing all they can to ensure the health …
VIENNA — Absentee voting for the Aug. 4 Primary Election is in progress at the Maries County Clerk’s Office in the courthouse and office staff are doing all they can to ensure the health safety of voters. The County Clerk’s office staff wants all registered voters to have the opportunity to vote.
Last Thursday, Clerk’s Deputy Renee Kottwitz reported to the Maries County Commission that 87 absentee ballots have been sent out and 19 people have come to the clerk’s office to cast absentee ballots. The last day to mail out absentee ballots was July 22. Now, voters who want to vote absentee must do so at the county clerk’s office. Statewide, election authorities anticipate an increase in absentee voting due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Kottwitz said voters who are concerned about coming into the courthouse can vote from their vehicles as office staff will bring a ballot curbside to voters who want this service. Contact the county clerk’s office at 422-3388 to make arrangements to vote curbside. Kottwitz said all of the pens used for voting are sanitized after each use. If voters want office staff to wear a mask when they bring the ballot out to them, just request it.
On election day, the county clerk’s office will have hand sanitizer at the entrance of each of the polling sites. They ask that voters maintain adequate distance (at least six feet) between themselves and others. Be patient, please. Common surfaces and voting equipment will be cleaned and sanitized routinely. Persons who are not feeling well are asked to not enter the polling site.
Call ahead for curbside service. Voters can go to the polling site and have a friend or family member request that a ballot be brought out to their vehicle for them to vote. If they are alone, make the arrangement for curbside voting by calling the county clerk’s office. Then, when they arrive at the appointed time, a poll worker will bring out the ballot for them to vote.
At the polling site, after voting the ballot, place pens and ballot markers were instructed for sanitation before they are re-used. Deposit the ballot into the ballot box and use hand sanitizer before exiting the polling site.
To speed up the process, before going to the polls, know where the polling site is and study the sample ballot, which can be found in this edition of this publication. This reduces the amount of time spent in the voting booth. Avoid voting at peak times to reduce exposure to others.
The written agreement between Maries and Osage Counties about Osage County maintaining a small Maries County section of Turkey Hill Road was not located. Presiding Commissioner Victor Stratman said Osage County will write up a new agreement with the same price of $2,720 per year that Maries County will pay. It was noted the payment for this year already has been made.
Stratman asked Western District Commissioner Ed Fagre how the CART money is figured and if it is per mile. Fagre said mileage is used and every county has its own schedule and what percentage they receive. He said this is one of the reasons he favored the passage of a higher state gasoline tax in that the county would have received an additional $246,000 annually in CART funding. The cities also would have received more revenue as well as the water patrol. He said there is no gasoline tax on gasoline sold at the Lake of the Ozarks for boats because boats don’t use the highways.
The commissioners continued to look over the sample personnel policy in an effort to improve the county’s policy. Fagre asked who the human resources (HR) person is and was told it is Kottwitz and County Clerk Rhonda Rodgers.
The commissioners asked about six leave. Kottwitz said employees receive a half day a month or six days a year in sick leave. Stratman asked about the maximum number of sick days that can be accumulated, and if employees can donate their sick leave days to other employees. Fagre said they’ve donated sick leave days in the past when people have needed it. Kottwitz said she’s done that a lot herself.
She said if an employee leaves and has accumulated 30 days of sick leave, they can be paid for all of it. Sick leave is cumulative and there in no maximum set for it.
Vacation leave has a cumulative maximum of 20 days for employees with 10 years or less of employment with the county. For employees with over 10 years of employment, they can accumulate 30 vacation days.
The COVID-19 coronavirus has added many things these past few months. Plexiglass safety shields have been put up in front of the work stations at the Vienna License Office. Staff there said it is getting more difficult to look through the plexiglass as it scratches easily with so much daily cleaning. The county has requested a bid from Miller Glass for glass safety shields for several offices in the courthouse. They will be used to keep both county staff and county customers and citizens safe and it can be cleaned without scratching the glass surface.
Assessor Dana Simmons brought to the commissioners the contract with Midland GIS for the new geographic information system (GIS) her office will be using. It is being purchased with $168,554 of the county’s over $1 million CARES Act money. Simmons said she was pleased to finally be able to get this system up and running in her office. She’s wanted it ever since she became the assessor. Fagre told her the previous assessor, Judy Honse, also wanted to get GIS but there was never enough money.