Craighead County Election Commission hears about debts, election prep

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 163 views 

Craighead County Election Coordinator Jennifer Clack said the county has been able to winnow down a $110,000 debt owed by cities and school districts to about $4,200.

“We did not have to beg them,” Clack said Monday after giving an update to election commissioners.

The county has been working to recoup monies owed between 2008 and 2014, for city and school board elections. Clack said most cities and school districts paid the bills within two months of receiving invoices from the county. As of Monday, the following was owed to the county: city of Brookland – $3,699; city of Cash – $387; city of Bay – $255; and city of Cash – $42.

Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt, whose office is in charge of keeping tabs on revenue, said the improved collections have helped the county’s bottom line.

“They are reimbursing the county for the expenses. The county, in effect, fronts them the money,” McNatt said, noting the reimbursements have helped county officials be better stewards of taxpayer money.

McNatt said the collection of the money can be tedious and time consuming, but noted every little bit counts.

The commission also discussed preparations for the March 1 primary. Early voting starts Feb. 16 at the Craighead County Election Annex on Jefferson Ave. in  Jonesboro and the Craighead County Courthouse in Lake City.

Commission chairman Jeannette Robertson said she expects 300 to 500 absentee votes during the primary March 1.

Robertson also spoke with commissioners about implementing a severe weather plan for election workers and polling sites. The plan calls for the commission to notify residents and poll workers of any possible closings or immediate changes if a tornado or winter storm happens.

“We do not expect you to stay in harm’s way; and we want you to be aware of your own safety. if immediate action is necessary for your safety, please do what is needed,” the letter to poll workers reads.

The letter also asks poll workers to gather ballots and voting equipment before they leave the polling site if an emergency were to happen. Also, Robertson said the commission would notify local media if there is any change in polling places due to bad weather.