McLennan County commissioners approved almost $17,000 Tuesday, $6,000 more than previously estimated, to bring a local church into compliance with federal Americans with Disability Act standards so it can be used as a vote center again.

Lake Shore United Methodist Church must serve as a vote center through 2024 under the agreement. If the church cancels for any reason, it will have to pay the county back the $16,837 cost of repairs, County Administrator Dustin Chapman said.

County leaders originally expected repairs to cost $11,000. The majority of work will be on the church’s parking lot and sidewalk.

“It was on the higher end of the estimate,” Purchasing Director Ken Bass said of the cost.

Lake Shore United Methodist Church will be the 33rd vote center for the November election. It will be the ninth center for Precinct 3, while the other three precincts have eight vote centers.

The county quit using some other privately owned buildings previously used as vote centers because of the expense of bringing them into compliance with the ADA. Central Christian Church, for example, would have needed more than $70,000 in repairs to bring into compliance.

The Department of Justice reviewed county facilities in 2011 and identified hundreds of ADA violations.

ADA repairs do not have to be complete by the Nov. 7 election, Chapman said. Under the settlement agreement the county reached with DOJ, the county just needs to notify the department of its plans to remedy the violations in order to continue using the facility, Chapman said.

Lake Shore United Methodist Church was originally eliminated as a vote center because of the ADA issues. Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Jones requested the county pay to make the repairs and continue using the church, saying it has served active voters for years.

Twin Peaks expenses

Commissioners also approved $20,000 for the Twin Peaks budget line item.

Commissioners put a placeholder in the fiscal year 2018 budget, which started Oct. 1, for costs associated with the one-of-a-kind legal proceeding related to the May 2015 Twin Peaks shootout.

County Auditor Stan Chambers said District Attorney Abel Reyna requested $20,000 for witness expenses and investigator costs.

The county has paid out $230,751 so far in Twin Peaks-related expenses.

The trial of Jacob Carrizal, the Bandidos Dallas chapter president, is ongoing in 54th State District Court. Carrizal’s trial is the first out of the 154 bikers indicted in the shootout that left nine bikers dead and more than a dozen injured.

He is charged with directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity.

Building maintenance director

After an executive session, commissioners agreed to hire Timothy Jackson, of China Spring, as the county’s new building maintenance director.

Former director Herschel Miller resigned Sept. 15.

Jackson, who currently works for Aramark, will start Nov. 8 with a $68,000 salary.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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