Upcoming election spurs increased absentee ballots

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Absentee ballot forms for the Nov. 3 Presidential Election are pouring into the Jones County Auditor’s Office.

     During the Aug. 25 board of supervisor meeting, Auditor Janine Sulzner reported 1,400 to 1,500 absentee forms by the end of the week.

     “We have all of the faith in the Post Office,” she said, despite public political sentiment. “They will do what they need to do.”

     Sulzner did warn voters not to wait until the last minute to mail in their ballot form or even absentee ballot, which will be mailed out beginning Oct. 5.

     Several different organizations will be sending mass absentee ballot-request forms out to registered voters, warned Sulzner.

     In terms of misinformation surrounding the election, Sulzner said, “Call our office for the truth versus listening to social media and the TV media.”

     The county also received a $10,000 grant from the Iowa Secretary of Stat’s Office for Election Day PPE items.

     In a separate email from Secretary Paul Pate’s office, it was noted that $2 million was awarded to counties across Iowa to help ensure a safe election amid the pandemic. The PPE items include: facemasks, face shields, gloves, hand sanitizer, and social-distancing markers.

     In addition, each county will receive a base amount of $5,000 in CARES Act funds, as well as an additional $850 per precinct. This funding could be used for additional PPE, polling place supplies such as pens and secrecy folders, training materials for poll workers, and for disinfecting polling places.

     “Making sure Iowans can safely coast their ballot is vital. It is your choice whether you want to vote absentee or at the polls,” said Pate. “Polls will be open on Nov. 3. We are providing the materials necessary to protect voters and poll workers and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.”

In other county business:

     The Jones County Treasurer’s Office is now open to walk-in traffic, with the exception of driver’s licenses.

     Treasurer Amy Picray said despite the increase in services, they still strongly encourage customers to complete their business, if they can, without coming into the Treasurer’s Office in person.

     “Vehicle registration renewals and property tax payments can be made through the mail, through the courthouse drop-box, online, or over the phone,” offered Picray. “In order to continue providing a safe and health environment to conduct business, we need to minimize the number of people in the courthouse at any one time.”

     The board approved a liquor license for Jones County Local LLC (Daron Rubner), owner of the new Jones County Local eatery, located on County Road E-34 (former Rainbow Supper Club).

     Rubner said his tentative opening date is Sept. 8.

     The board approved an interfund transfer of $249,124 from the General Basic Fund to the Capital Projects Fund for the courthouse window and HVAC projects.

     They also approved a transfer of $500,000 from the Secondary Road Local Option Tax Fund to the Secondary Road Fund for the Shaw Road paving project. To date, Sulzner said about $1.8 million has been spent on that particular project.

     The board approved the preliminary and final plats of the Eagle Ridge subdivision in Fairview Township. It contains one buildable lot and two non-buildable out-lots.

     County Engineer Derek Snead informed the board that the used wheel loader he anticipated purchasing is not going to work for the Secondary Road department.

     Supervisor Wayne Manternach provided an update on HACAP. He said HACAP is looking for case managers to assist derecho storm victims. The plea for such services was released to the nine-county mental health region, which includes Jones County.

     “There will be reimbursement from HACAP for their time spent working on cases,” noted Mantermach.


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