Brown County officials are investigating the prospect of creating vote centers.
To that end, commissioners agreed Tuesday to send auditor Maxine Fischer to Brookings to observe a school bond vote on Nov. 12 during which voting centers will be used. The next day, there's an election workshop in Sioux Falls that she also will attend.
If created in Brown County, the voting centers would decrease the number of Aberdeen precincts Fischer's office would oversee on Election Day.
Three voting centers could replace the 11 in-town precincts currently in place. Voters from any precinct could stop at any of the voting centers and cast a ballot, Fischer said.
Precincts would remain in rural parts of Brown County, she said.
The voting centers would save the county money during elections because fewer people would have to be hired to work the three centers, Fischer said.
While commissioners have made no decisions regarding the use of voting centers, commissioner Mike Wiese said it's a good idea to learn more. He said he thinks they would reduce confusion about where voters need to go to vote.
Voting centers would have electronic poll books that would allow election workers to scan driver's licenses to make sure a person is registered to vote. They would then print receipts telling workers which ballot to give a voter. They also would alert poll workers if somebody tried to vote twice in the same election. They would replace the paper voting rolls now used to track voters.
Federal money from the Help American Vote Act likely would be available to Brown County to help pay for technology if the county decides to implement voting centers, Fischer said.
— Officials learned from Jan Weismantel, highway superintendent, that large road improvement projects on County Road 14W near Northern Beef Packers and County Road 19 near Molded Fiber Glass are done. County Road 19 isn't open yet, though, she said.
Both of the stretches, done by contractors, look good, she said.
The County Road 19 job cost nearly $459,000. The reconstructed half mile from Eighth Avenue Northeast to the blade plant will be better for trucks that carry the blades to get into and out of the plant.
It cost roughly $670,000 to rebuild about a third of a mile of County Road 14W leading to the beef plant from the west with a concrete surface. It can now better accommodate cattle trucks should a buyer be found for the bankrupt plant and were to re-open.
Brown County used $700,000 in state grants to help pay for the projects.
Weismantel said she is having Lien Transportation do work on about 50 feet where County Road 14W transitions from concrete to gravel to ensure that blades used to remove snow during the winter don't catch and pull up the new concrete.
— Officials approved sending a letter to North Star Amusements informing the company that the fair is seeking a new carnival for 2014.
The longtime carnival for the fair, North Star, is on the outs with the county after double-booking during this year's Brown County fair and sending another carnival to Aberdeen in its place. That wasn't allowed under the contract between the county and North Star, Amy Scott, fair manager, has said.
— County officials learned that the former Ralph's Heating and Air Conditioning building, now owned by the county, will be demolished this year. An Oct. 22 bid date was set with a completion date of Nov. 27.
Work to convert the area into a parking area for the courthouse complex to the south will be done next year, said Gary Vetter, commission assistant.
— The commission acknowledged the resignation of longtime highway department worker Markcus Selzler effective Oct. 9.