Trimble County is appropriating funding for the upcoming primary election much differently this year due to the virus pandemic, according to information presented at Monday’s Fiscal Court meeting over Zoom.

Like other communities across the country, the county is grappling with how to safely and economically conduct primaries this year with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting polling places, the number of advance ballots being requested and virtually every other part of the election. In an April 22 meeting, County Clerk Tina Browning said she expected to exceed her election budget by about $1,500 due to postage costs from the dramatic increase in mail-out ballots.

Browning returned Monday with an update on the process including three new requests: the purchase of a half-page ad in the Trimble Banner explaining how in-person voting will take place, $1,000 for Plexiglas stands to protect poll workers and $3,000 to cover the cost of postage for ballots.

“We are asking, if possible, to please vote before election day on June 23, because we expect long lines and in late June the weather is always so hot. I’m sure they’ll be out onto the sidewalks and into the parking lots of the schools,” Browning said.

For those who still want to vote in-person, Browning said her office requested polling locations at Milton and Bedford Elementary Schools with two precincts at each building. That might now be allowed, however, since she said the Kentucky State Board of Elections had requested a reduction in precincts and might ask the county to reduce voting to one additional polling place.

Browning said she has selected poll workers, whose salaries will be covered by the state with federal dollars to save counties that expense and our poll workers will man each precinct

The state will also covering the cost of return postage on mail ballots, but the Clerk’s office still needs $3,000 to cover the initial cost of mailing ballots to residents.

Browning’s office also asked for $1,000 to cover the cost of five Plexiglas screens handmade by Solid Waste Officer Bruce Pyles to protect poll workers in June. Browning said she initially looked into buying SuperATV screens at a cost of $230 each, but wanted stands big enough to cover more than one person.

In addition, she requested purchase of a half-page ad in the local newspaper explaining the process for safely voting in person this year and stressing the availability of early voting and voting by mail. Early voting is required to start by June 8, but the county is aiming to start voting early next week depending on whether its voting computer and portal is ready, Browning said.

“It’s supposed to be by appointment only, but I’m not going to turn anybody away, and if somebody shows up and they don’t have an appointment they may have to wait outside for a little bit, but we want as many people to vote beforehand to try to keep that crowd down on June 23,” she said.

Browning said her office will mail postcards to residents describing how to get access the election portal and order a ballot and that those without internet access or a computer may call her office to place the order.

“We hope we don’t ever have to do this again, but we thank you for being ready for it,” said Judge Executive Todd Pollock, whose office reopened Monday for the first time since March.

In other business Monday:

• Magistrates approved construction of a subdivision on Webb Lane to develop a 77-acre farm. Pollock said the developer, Bobby Smith, proposed the development about a year ago and the property so far has proposed subdivision into 14 tracts. The approval is contingent upon receiving a letter from the Henry County Water District stating it will not install fire hydrants on the property, which straddles the Trimble-Henry County line.

— Fiscal Court approved roadwork with Louisville Paving and Construction to begin on six county roads, some of which to be paid for by discretionary funds received from the state last fall. The roads include: Cooper’s Bottom Road, Hubbard Lane, Ogden-Mosley Road, the North Gate Subdivision, Rowlett Lane and Fisher Farm Road.

• Magistrates appointed Larry Brown to a four-year term on the Trimble County Water District Board to expire in March 2024.

• Approved two separate motions to apply for grants through the Kentucky Department of Homeland Security for both emergency management grants in response to the COVID-19 emergency and protective vests for law enforcement.