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Election agreement affects Oakwood early voting

Voters now have to cast ballots at Hall office

POSTED: March 11, 2013 11:30 p.m.

An election agreement between Oakwood and Hall County would require city residents wishing to vote early in this year’s City Council election to travel to Hall’s election office in Gainesville.

City Council voted 4-1 Monday night on the agreement.

“We have held our elections here ourselves when there was only a mayor, city manager, a clerk and one person to do maintenance in the city,” said Councilman Ron McFarland, the lone opponent to the measure.

“Now, the city is huge now compared to that. I don’t see why we can’t do it here.”

Councilman Todd Wilson supported the measure.

“During election time, it would free up the city staff to do city work instead of election work,” he said.

The city would handle candidate qualifying, which is set for Aug. 26-28, and “act as the filing officer on all financial statements,” City Manager Stan Brown said.

In addition to early voting, the county would handle absentee and provisional ballots and tallying, as well as testing of all equipment. The county’s election office is in the Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road.

“It seemed to be a reasonable thing for us to move forward with,” Brown said. “It would be no additional cost to us.

We could do it within our budget, and it kind of falls in line with our philosophy of trying to partner with those who can deliver services on our behalf.”

City Clerk Tangee Puckett still would “need to stay current” on election law, but she would be freed to handle other duties, Brown said.

“We’re operating without a finance and (human resources) person, without a planning director, without an assistant city manager,” he said.

“Everybody has stepped (up) and is doing, I think, an outstanding job. But you do get to the point where you may have some capacity issues being able to do everything.”

Brown said he has talked with Gainesville officials about the arrangement “and this has worked out well for them over the years.”

Monday’s vote pertains only to the 2013 election. The mayor’s seat, held by Lamar Scroggs, and council Post 1 and 2 seats held by Sam Evans and McFarland, respectively, are up for election.

The election is Nov. 5.

In other business, the council voted to award a paving contract to Allied Paving Contractors for $555,844.

Oakwood will be joined by Flowery Branch and Lula in the initiative.

In general, the work for all three cities consists of milling, patching, overlaying and “full depth reclamation,” a process of using asphalt already in place as part of repaving.

Oakwood has .85 mile planned as part of the effort, Flowery Branch has 2.19 miles and Lula, 1.19 miles.


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