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Bertie board reverses decision

WINDSOR – Bertie County will match a grant application on behalf of the Bertie County Board of Elections.

Monday morning, the Bertie County Commissioners decided to match 25 percent of a grant that will provide for the paving of the parking lot at the elections office in Windsor and a polling site in Hexlena.

Last month, the board defeated a motion to offer a 15 percent match. The motion, made by Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard III was seconded by Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. Commissioners J. Wallace Perry, Charles Smith and Rick Harrell, however, defeated the motion.

Monday morning, Cherry explained the motion failed because the board members did not agree on the amount of funding, not because they were reluctant to support the grant.

“I think there was a difference of opinion on the amount of the match,” the chairman said. “Some of us had different percentages in our mind. It was never that we were not in favor of doing something.”

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb explained that he had recommended a 10-25 percent match, but had also talked about another county that had provided a 50 percent match.

“I think there were a lot of numbers that were thrown out at you,” Lamb said.

Commissioner Harrell inquired of the total amount of the bid and was told it was $26,500.

Cherry said he believed the majority of the board was in favor of matching at 25 percent, which amounted to $6,650.

Bertie County Elections Director Shirlie Davenport said the match would enable the county to receive priority status among those applying for the grant through the Help American Vote Act.

Commissioner Perry asked if the price included striping so parking could be orderly and was told it did not, but it could be added at a relatively inexpensive cost.

Commissioner Smith made the motion to match the grant at 25 percent with Vice Chairman Hoggard offering a second. It passed by a unanimous vote.

In other business relating to the elections board, the commissioners agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding between the two entities.

Lamb told the board that traditionally, the county had handled payroll and other issues with the elections director and other election employees, but they were not subject to county’s discipline.

“The hiring, firing and discipline of the director and her employees are statutorily handled by the board of elections,” Lamb said. “All this does is put in writing what we’ve been doing.”

Commissioner Perry moved to accept the memorandum with Commissioner Smith offering a second. The motion passed without objection.