Closed Bell County fire departments will be voting precincts

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

The closed Bell County fire departments will be open on Election Day.

The fire departments wanted the Election Commission to pay for use of the buildings, but the Election Commission did not want to pay. It affected the precincts for Brownies Creek, Calloway, Clear Creek, Arjay, and Colmar.

The two sides have now reached an agreement in court.

The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department Inc. wanted the Bell County Election Commission to pay them $50 per day to use the fire departments for polling precincts. The Election commission said no, putting the precincts in jeopardy for the upcoming primary election.

"Fire departments, especially here, are paid for by the taxpayer and by statute, we are entitled to vote in them. It's tragic there was even an attempt to stop that," said Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock.

The matter ended up in Bell County Circuit Court. This week, the two sides reached an agreement just days before the election on Tuesday.

In the agreement, the Election Commission will not pay the fire departments for use of the buildings. The Election Commission agrees to clean the building afterwards and return them to the same condition they were before they entered.

"The fire department thought it was in the best interest of the community to go ahead and resolve the issue and allow voters to use the fire stations as polling places," said Mark Hayden, attorney for the Bell County Fire Departments.

County Clerk Becky Blevins said she thanks the fire departments for use of the buildings and the agreement.

Election officials say Bell County voters will go to their precincts as normal on election day.

The attorneys say this agreement pertains to all future elections as well.

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