The Warren County Registrar’s Office plans to use almost $60,000 in federal funding to help run this year’s elections amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Board of Supervisors voted this week to appropriate $58,965 the county received from the Virginia Department of Elections through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Help America Vote Act.
Registrar Carol Tobin provided the county with information on how she plans to spend the money. The Registrar’s Office plans to spend an estimated $20,000 on voting equipment; $5,000 on computers; $13,965 on supplies; $10,000 on postage; and $10,000 on staff.
The federal act requires that the county use the money “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 Federal election cycle.” Allowable uses of the money from the Help America Vote Act include:
• Printing of additional ballots and envelopes for potentially higher numbers of absentee or vote-by-mail processes.
• Additional mailing and postage costs, including ballot-tracking software.
• Acquisition of more voting equipment such as tabulators and hardware and software with signature comparison of returned absentee or mail-in ballots.
• Cleaning supplies, protective masks, and equipment for staff and poll workers in early voting, at the vote center or polling places.
• Overtime salary and benefit costs for elections staff and poll workers.
• Public communication of registration changes, ballot request options, or voting procedures, including information on coronavirus precautions implemented during the voting process.
• Mailings to inform the public on coronavirus precautions, options in voting.
• Pre- and post-election cleaning of polling places.
• Laptops and mobile information technology equipment and automated letter openers.
The Registrar’s Office must spend the funds for costs related to the 2020 federal election cycle. The county must return any money not spent as of Dec. 30.
Supervisors voted to approve the appropriation as an item in the meeting consent agenda. Chairman Walter Mabe, Vice Chairwoman Cheryl Cullers, and supervisors Delores Oates and Archie Fox attended the meeting and voted to approve the consent agenda. Supervisor Tony Carter did not attend the meeting.
Also at the meeting, supervisors voted to:
• Adopt an ordinance to designate roads in the Linden Heights Sanitary District as highways for law enforcement purposes. State code allows Warren County to designate private roads as highways for law enforcement purposes in any residential development containing 50 or more lots. The Linden Heights Sanitary District contains 94 lots.
• Adopt the bylaws for the Warren County Broadband Committee and the Warren County Railroad Taskforce.
• Rename the access road off Sunset Village Road as Arthur Burke Lane; another access road off Sunset Village Road as Sunrise Lane; and an access road off Harmony Orchard Road as Harmony Heights Lane.
• Approve a memorandum of understanding between the county and Front Royal regarding the purchase of a judicial sharing module for the Warren County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
• Adopt a resolution endorsing the application for a recreational fishing grant through the Dupont-Waynesboro Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Settlement.
• Authorize the county to advertise for a public hearing proposed changes to the county code pertaining to soil erosion and sediment control.
• Adopt a resolution authorizing the issuance of school refunding bonds. No one spoke at the public hearing held on the matter.
• Approve an ordinance to change the county code section to allow the South River Estates Sanitary District to charge a construction-use fee of $1,500. A representative of South River Estates said the neighborhood needs to collect a fee to cover the cost of damage to roads caused by heavy construction vehicles.