01/01/06 — Duplin commissioners to consider voting machines

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Duplin commissioners to consider voting machines

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 1, 2006 2:02 AM

KENANSVILLE -- The Duplin County Board of Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Admin-istration Building on Seminary Road to discuss several matters, including voting machines, what to do with a vacant building and whether to adopt a landfill franchise ordinance.

The board will hear an update at 9:30 a.m. about the services provided by the East Carolina Council of governments from the council's executive director, Larry Moolenaar. The council's region spans nine counties, Wayne, Duplin, Lenoir, Green, Jones, Onslow, Craven, Pamlico and Carteret. And Moolenaar told county officials he is trying to get around to all of the local commissioner boards to explain how his organization can help them.

County Planner Mike Aldridge will ask the board for direction at 9:45 a.m. about the now vacant farm services building across from Courthouse Square. The Cooperative Extension Service, which used to be housed in that building, has moved to Duplin Commons. Aldridge has given commissioners several possible scenarios of what could be done with the freed up space, and commissioners have been studying them.

Elections Board Chairman Albert Brown will talk to the board at 10:45 a.m. and recommend a voting machine for the county to buy. The state has approved two types of machines. One is the optical scan method, like the method used in the machines used in Wayne County. The voter fills out a ballot and slips it into the machine, which reads the votes. The other choice is the direct-record electronics method. The voter touches the screen, and the machine registers the vote.

The election officials polled 56 people who came out to look at the machines recently, and 34 of the them said they thought the county should get the optical scan type machine.

County Manager Fred Eldridge will also ask the board for direction at 11:15 a.m. concerning a landfill franchise ordinance he was asked to draw up for commissioners. He and County Attorney Wendy Sivori drew up a draft landfill franchise ordinance, and the commissioner board has been reviewing it.

The ordinance, if adopted, would regulate the disposal of solid waste in the county. The ordinance would include things like the total population to be served by the landfill, and the county can include any other requirements for the company.

But once an ordinance is adopted, the county is obligated to grant a franchise to a company that meets all the criteria set forth in the ordinance.

Duplin has no landfill and hires a private company to haul public waste to a landfill in Sampson County. Commissioners signed a 10-year contract with Waste Industries to dispose of the county's waste but are still considering an ordinance to govern any private landfill that might be created in Duplin. A subsidiary of Waste Industries has sought permission to build one near Calypso.