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Commissioners Court approves two new precincts, receives vaccine distribution update


A file photo of the Hays County Historic Courthouse.

The Hays County Commissioners Court approved the making of two new county precincts and addressed confusion regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution at its March 9 meeting.
Hays County Emergency Services Office Director Mike Jones provided updates on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, stating volunteers this week will manage phones allowing citizens who do not have internet access to call and pre-register for a vaccine. Citizens may call 833-521-2766, Tuesdays-Thursdays between noon to 4 p.m. to sign up on the pre-registration list.
As of two weeks ago, Jones says the county is now receiving 4,680 doses a week. He adds Texas State will assist with vaccination distribution on March 12.
Jones says the mobile distribution team distributing vaccines to senior living facilities will complete its first round of doses by this weekend and begin its second round next week.
Jones adds Hays County will receive vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and, overall, emergency services are making progress with its distribution in the county.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra clarified “making progress” means citizens are being vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“When vaccines are delivered to our department heads, they are dispensed in an orderly manner, pulled off the pre-registration checklist. That’s where he’s referring to, that people have been on our pre-registration list and haven’t been vaccinated doesn’t mean it’s not working. It just means we haven’t received enough vaccinations to get through the list,” Becerra says.
Becerra also elaborated on the recent decision granting teachers, school district employees and childcare workers Tier 1B eligibility to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, stating those workers were not placed over anyone else of high priority but were given access to the vaccine.
Hays County Elections Administrator and Voter Registrar Jennifer Anderson attended the meeting to discuss the adoption of an order creating two new election precincts by splitting precincts 333 and 449.
“The easiest way to explain it for the public is that precinct 333 will be split down Lone Man Mountain Road all the way to 3237 [Lone Man Mountain Road], so that top portion will become 320, and the bottom portion will remain 333,” Anderson says. “In that split that will be 2,440 voters in the 333 new precinct and 1,760 voters in the new precinct 320. Then for 449, that split will be made at Ranch Road 12 and then follow to 290 in an easterly fashion the existing boundaries will pick up from there. So, the new 449 will have 2,770 registered voters and then the precinct that we will be calling 450 now, will have 2,090.”
Anderson says the change in precincts will not impact a voter’s ability to vote. Instead, the voter will have to show proof of address when going to vote if they have not updated their proof of residence with the Hays County Elections Office.
The commissioners also approved the reappointments of George Baker, David Reynolds and Kevin Pogue to the Hays County Development District 1.
Lisa Naranjo, a commercial security specialist of Fortress Security, presented to the commissioners a proposal for camera security and a burglar alarm at the Hays County Historic Courthouse. The proposal consisted of 16 cameras to cover the entire perimeter of the courthouse and a burglar alarm equipped with a panic button allowing an immediate emergency response.
Security upgrades at the Hays County Government Center are also under consideration due to the cameras at the center being outdated. Naranjo says having a dual security contract with the courthouse and the government center simultaneously would be more efficient.
Commissioner Lon Shell believes installing more security at the courthouse will be helpful.
“I’d hate to show up one day and have someone broken into this building and damage other public property,” Shell says. “I know some of our citizens, I think, would understand that is the responsibility of the county to protect their assets and so that’s been kind of my concern this whole time, that if something were to happen, I don’t think we would be able to stop that or at least to find out who did it, so that’s kind of been my reasoning for the camera portion of this was to have some ability to make sure that we are doing our job and protecting the public’s asset.”
A final decision to sign a contract for the extra security equipment will be made after future presentations in executive sessions.
The Hays County Commissioners Court meets every Tuesday at 9 a.m. For more information visit its website.

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