By Russell Hood
The Webster Progress-Times
Webster County will have a special advisory referendum in a little over two months on the question of replacing or rebuilding the courthouse.
The Board of Supervisors, meeting last Friday, approved the forms for the notice of the special referendum election and for the ballot in the election, which will be April 8. The official notice is being published twice in the Progress-Times and is to be posted at the five county maintenance barns.
The result of the vote will not be binding on the county board, but will be advisory only, according to the special election notice. Voters must mark one and only one of these two choices that will be on the ballot:
• “I support the construction of a new Webster County Courthouse, to be located somewhere in Walthall, Mississippi, the county seat.”
• “I support the restoration and rebuilding of the existing Webster County Courthouse that was damaged by fire on January 17, 2013.”
Circuit Clerk Deborah Hood Neal and Deputy Clerk Wanda Robinson met with the board during the discussion. Robinson said absentee ballots must be ready by Feb. 21 in order to be mailed to those requesting one.
Neal said new voting machines were in Jackson and were scheduled to be here Tuesday. They are replacing those destroyed by water when the courthouse fire was being extinguished.
The discussion included plans to insulate and clean the county-owned “Doss Building” on East Roane Avenue, which has been designated as the site to house voting machines, as the site and office for the county election commissioners, and as the central receiving and returning place for ballots on election nights.
Supervisors had voted Dec. 16 to hold a special advisory referendum on the issue of whether to build a new courthouse or to repair and restore the building.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 8. County residents 18 and over who are unregistered to vote have until 5 p.m. March 7 to register to be eligible to vote in the special election.
The board recessed until 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Justice Court courtroom.
See sample ballot on page 10 in today’s edition.