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Commissioners take action on election precincts
During Tuesday's Hays County Commissioners Court meeting, the court held a discussion and took action to adopt new election precincts resulting from redistricting changes.
The item began with a public comment period where Redistricting Advisory Commission member Shannon FitzPatrick said many were concerned with the redistricting process.
“Needless to say many of us were stunned by the last-minute map created by Commissioner Shell with no public input and no publicized data justification. Additionally, the Redistricting Advisory Commission was advised by Mr. Bass who is the expert attorney hired by this court to advise on redistricting to not break up voting blocks but that is exactly what you did again and again over 50 times,” FitzPatrick said. “Based on these actions it appears almost as if you never actually intended to pay any attention to the RAC’s recommendations. I certainly hope that wasn’t the case but at the end of the day, however, there was a disrespect to the process and to the citizens of Hays County.”
Hays County Elections Administrator, Jennifer Anderson presented the court with the map of the new precincts. Four adjustments were made within the precincts based on voters within them. Ultimately, Precinct 315 was split into 314, 228 was split with a new 254 portion, 443 was split into a new 451 precinct and 252 is now a new 253 precinct.
“What we’re doing here is purely just relabeling, it’s not doing anything else the real work was done in the redistricting and all that’s going on here at this moment is the labeling of the address to a box number,” Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said.
New voter registration cards will be mailed to all registered voters prior to the primary election of 2022.
The commissioners also began with a declaration to recognize Dec. 5-11 as National Influenza Vaccination Week in Hays County.
The proclamation mentioned that the week of observance is intended to increase awareness of seasonal influenza and better understand the disease and its prevention at local, state, and national levels.
“Our employees at the health department always do such a great job and it’s always nice to have them in court and just recognize all the things that they do for our county and our citizens,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales-Ingalsbe.
Before voting on the item concerning the allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to the Hays County Office of Emergency Services, an amendment was added to ensure that the project funding would be able to come from ARPA.
The amendment to the motion was initiated by Precinct 4 Commissioner Walt Smith to pull funding for the improvements from the countywide budget and the remainder of the funds be pulled equally from the remaining precincts. Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell, finalized the amendment.
“Upon determination by the auditor’s office that ARPA funds can be used for this and to allocate of the difference between what is remaining in the countywide portion of the APRA funds, half a million out of the precinct 3 bucket and then evenly split the reminder of that amongst precincts 1, 2 and 4,” Shell said.
An item related to the project will be brought back during the next court meeting to determine whether or not discretionary extension needs to be declared after the auditor’s office receives direction from the county treasury.
To view the full agenda and meeting visit, hayscountytx.com/commissioners-court/court-video/.