Separate polling place needed for vote

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February 24, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Iolans will have to make stops at two separate polling places if they want to vote in the April 6 mayoral election and also decide on the size of the city’s next governing body.
That’s because the advisory election — in which voters will be asked if they prefer a four-, six- or eight-member city commission — cannot be included on same ballot, nor be decided on in the same location, as the one for the mayoral vote, said County Clerk and Election Officer Sherrie Reibel. As a result, the turnout for the advisory election will likely be much higher than the mayoral vote, City Clerk Roxanne Hutton said, because Mayor Bill Maness is running unopposed.
Commissioners decided earlier this month to set up an advisory election in response to the city vote last April to disband the existing city commission. Differing opinions on what size the new governing body should be, prompted commissioners to ask for the election.
“Whatever the citizens choose, that’s what I’ll support,” Commissioner Bill Shirley said.
City Attorney Chuck Apt spelled out a number of regulations the city must follow regarding the vote, including that the advisory election’s polling place must be at least 250 feet away from the city polling site. The city is allowed to post a sign noting where the advisory election would be held, however.
City Administrator Judy Brigham said one option is First Baptist Church, which had served as a polling site for years before the city consolidated the voting procedures for Iola’s four wards.
While the city has some latitude in setting up the election, Maness recommended keeping the rules similar to any official election.
The city should use the same registration process and requirements, he said.
Hutton is checking on costs to rent the church space, print and count ballots and other options, such as voting by mail.

IOLA WILL add a human resources officer to the city staff. Commissioners approved a measure to replace Kay Maple, who is retiring from the utilities office after 29 years, with the human resources position.
Brigham said the new officer would assist with payroll duties now handled by Maple, as well as other responsibilities typically under a human resources umbrella.
Starting wages would be about $40,000.

JANA TAYLOR, executive director of the Iola Area Chamber of Commerce, showed commissioners designs for new banners the Chamber hopes to erect on street poles around town.
The first phase will include 14 street poles along Madison Avenue between Walnut and Sycamore streets.
The colorful banners will denote various forms of activity available in the Iola area, and will be sponsored by local businesses and individuals. The sponsors’ names will be printed at the bottom of each banner.
Sponsorships are available for $300 apiece, Taylor said.
The banners are not a part of Vision Iola, which is looking at developing better signage around town, Taylor noted.
She would eventually like to see more banners added on State and East streets.
For more information on sponsoring a banner, contact Taylor at 365-5252.

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