Harrison County selects Nov. 3 polling locations
By Bridget Ortigo
Sept. 16, 2015 at 4 a.m.
MARSHALL — Harrison County commissioners set polling places for a Nov. 3 election on a state constitutional amendment and agreed to conduct the election jointly with the city of Waskom and Waskom ISD, where voters will decide on alcohol sales and a $13.4 million school bond issue.
Commissioners on Monday also approved consolidation of polling locations for its 26 precinct voting area because of previous low voter turnout on constitutional amendments.
"These consolidated voting locations are just for this election only," said Harrison County Election Administrator Mike McMurry. "Based on low voter turnout for constitutional amendments, we decided to consolidate to save money."
Harrison County Judge Hugh Taylor said Waskom and Waskom ISD would help defray some of the cost of conducting their elections at the same time.
The following places will serve as polling locations:
Marshall Convention Center for Pcts. 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 21, 22 and 26.
T.J. Taylor Community Center for Pct. 5.
Gold Hall for Pcts. 12, 13, 19 and 25.
Woodlawn Community Center for Pcts. 14 and 18.
Harleton Community Center for Pcts. 15, 16, 23 and 24.
Waskom Sub-Courthouse for Pcts. 6, 7, 17 and 20.
Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19-23, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26-28 and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 29.
The court also approved an 8 percent increase in its United Healthcare 2016 renewal plan for members 65 years and older and retirees, at a cost of about an extra $25,000 to the county.
"The reason for the increase is the trend in prescription costs and specialty medications," Taylor said. "The county will be responsible for a $24 a month increase in premiums for its 65 and over members and retirees. The members will have an increase on drug copays and out of pocket fees."
The drug copays for members will increase $5 for Tier 1 and 2 drugs and will increase $10 for Tier 3 drugs. Out-of-pocket deductibles will increase from $4,640 to $4,800.
Taylor said the extra $25,000 due from the county for the increased premiums will begin Jan. 1. He said the county did not learn of the increases until after passing its Oct. 1 fiscal budget and did not include the increase in that plan.
County Commissioner Jay Ebarb was the only dissenting vote on the increase in health care costs.
The court also approved a $10,000 donation from Texas Eastern 911 Network for the purchase of body cameras for sheriff's deputies.
Sheriff Tom McCool said the deputies have been trying out different body cameras over the past few months, as well as talking to other agencies.
The department is looking to buy about 30 body cameras.
"We'll have to wait and see when the budget is official on Oct. 1," McCool said.
Taylor said he is in support of the deputies wearing the cameras.
"It's a top safety priority," he said. "We're looking forward to the implementation of the equipment. They go a long way for officer safety and citizen safety."
McCool said he, too, was ready to get cameras on the officers.
"Since the body cameras, 95 percent of complaints against officers usually show in the officers' favor and support the officer. They will also help if we have an officer out there that is too aggressive. The camera should show that."