County clerk seeks commission’s OK for $677K in new election equipment; September festival permit also on county agenda

The Douglas County Commission meets in the historic courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St.

County Clerk Jamie Shew on Wednesday will request that the Douglas County Commission approve a $677,120 contract to buy new election equipment.

Shew said Monday that the equipment would replace the equipment that the clerk’s office bought in 2006, which had a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. The contract is for the hardware and software of a system that will allow county voters to continue to vote on paper ballots, which will be counted on scanners placed in the county’s 77 precincts on election days.

Money from the clerk’s office’s capital reserve fund will be used to purchase the new equipment, Shew said.

The clerk’s office is recommending purchasing the equipment from Henry M. Adkins and Son Inc. after considering five vendors, Shew wrote in a memo to commissioners. Adkins was the lowest bidder for the equipment and had the lowest annual cost of $50,000 for such things as software licenses, support and training.

Because Adkins’ bid for the equipment was lower than expected, the clerk’s office will be able to buy 80 of the ballot-reading scanners and associated equipment, Shew said. That will allow additional equipment to be placed in the busiest precincts and used at advance-voting sites.

The equipment would be ready for use in the Aug. 7 primary, Shew said. The only county residents who will notice any change will be those who use special equipment for the visually impaired, he said. The new equipment offers more options and is smaller and more mobile than the devices it will replace.

In other business, commissioners will have a 6 p.m. public hearing before considering a special event permit application for a three-day festival Sept. 28-30 in western Douglas County. Applicants Laura Lockton and Humayun Khan, of ReKinection LLC, have applied to have the three-day arts and wellness festival on 122 acres they own at 375 North 851 Diagonal Road.

Lockton said Monday that the goal was to sell 500 daily pass tickets each day of the festival and 1,000 three-day camping tickets. The event would have workshops on such subjects as yoga, holistic healing and the aerial performance arts. The plan includes vendors on site and live music. No alcohol would be sold at the event, Lockton said.

Lockton said her and Khan’s goal was to develop a retreat at the site and have two festivals a year.

A report from County Codes and Zoning Department staff on the application states that the department received several phone calls questioning an April 27-28 event on the property. The report also notes that Commissioner Michelle Derusseau received a letter from Bill and Kay Hodge, of 891 East 300 Road, opposing the permit because of noise and traffic associated with the April event at the site.

County staff did not make any recommendations on the application but did propose a long list of stipulations, including that the applicant secure a $1 million liability insurance policy, widen the entry access to the property to 24 feet and schedule pre-event inspections for fire, health and ADA compliance. The applicant will also be required to have a medic unit on site with four employees and to develop a security plan with the sheriff’s office.