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Election results to be posted on Web site

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

BENTON - Unofficial results of Tuesday's election will be posted on Scott County's Web site, although officials can't pin down a time on when they will appear.

County commissioners and County Clerk Rita Milam, chief election officer, discussed the county's Web site with Dave Green, president of Creative Design Group, during their regular meeting Tuesday.

"April's the worst time to try something like this," Milam said, as there are both municipal and school board elections in addition to several issues on the ballots.

Also the county has not yet filled the county developer position - a job which will include updating the Web site. Green said when a county developer is hired, that person will be able to not only post election results as they come in, but will also be able to post pictures of the winners as they are determined in addition to vote tallies.

"I would say for this election let's post the final results," Green advised. Creative Design Group, which was hired to build the county's Web site, will post the results once they receive them from county officials.

As with results released to television, radio and newspaper media outlets, the results posted on the Web site will be unofficial.

Once the county's Web site has complete and correct content, the site will be submitted to about 254 search engines, Green said, but this is a great opportunity to make the public aware of the county's site and its usefulness. "If you want to drive people to your Web site, an election is the No. 1 way to do it," he said.

The Web site can also be used to promote issues in advance of elections, Green said. E-mail bulk mailing functions can also be a great tool for getting information out to schools and regional marketing entities, he noted.

Green said county officials and employees at the courthouse need to be able to rattle off the Web site address, scottcountymo.com, without hesitation. "If your people in the building don't know it, the public won't know it," he said.

A training session on the Web site to help county employees and officials "maximize the use of it" can also be scheduled, Green said.

Commissioners will not meet Tuesday due to the election.

In other business during Tuesday's meeting:

* Moving E-911 dispatching to the jail's dispatch area will require more than just moving equipment, according to Joe Burton, Scott County E-911 administrator, as communications equipment needs to be upgraded to comply with new bandwidth standards.

Burton said new bandwidth regulations mandated by the Federal Communications Commission go into effect in 2010 after which old radios won't be licensed.

"Bands were getting so cluttered," Burton explained, so bandwidths were narrowed to make more room.

Burton said he expects to receive the criteria for 2005 Homeland Security grants in the next week or two after which he will fill out and submit applications for both emergency management and law enforcement.

He said he should know by May if the county will get any money.

"There is some money that's available," Burton said. He added, however, that "these grants are competitive."

Burton said he is researching the cost of both upgrades and new communication equipment to comply with the 2010 standards. "I am exploring every possibility to get this down as cheap as possible," he said.

He predicted the move could be completed and equipment up and running at the jail by July or even quicker depending on equipment vendors.

Burton also reviewed plans with commissioners for the dispatching room at the jail showing three E-911 workstation cubicles. The service desk will remain to take care of administrative calls and walk-ins.

He expressed concerns regarding room to expand. The county E-911 center fielded 12,000 emergency calls last year and that number should continue to grow even if E-911 call centers at Chaffee, Scott City and Miner do not consolidate at the jail.

* Bids for the courthouse exterior restoration project were opened.

Mid-Continental Restoration Co. of Fort Scott, Kan., entered a bid of $139,200; and Karr Tuckpointing of Vinton, Iowa, submitted a bid of $112,206.

Commissioners will review the bids in detail and come to a decision "as soon as we can," Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel said.