The Caldwell County Fiscal Court passed a $6.9 million budget during a meeting Tuesday via conference call.

The budget passed on second reading after it was approved by the state financial officer May 6 and by first reading of the fiscal court April 28.

The budget includes:

• $1.76 million for the road department.

• $1.09 million for the jail.

• $1.13 million for the sheriff’s office.

• $275,596 in local government economic assistance (LGEA).

• $2.62 million for the county’s general fund.

The budget shows a 6.1% decrease from the budget from the 2019-20 fiscal year, which was set at $7.33 million. The new budget takes effect July 1.

Clerk addresses upcoming election

Registered voters in Caldwell County will have a number of options in the primary election June 23.

Caldwell County Clerk Toni Watson said the voting methods may be different because of health concerns brought about by COVID-19 and recommends that all voters apply for an absentee ballot.

“This election is not going to be carried out at the precincts as we have always done in the past,” Watson said. “Hopefully, most of them will be by mail-in ballot. We’ve always had absentee ballots for people who were out of town, working, sick, older and could not stand in line, disabilities — we’ve always had that.”

Watson said that early voting will be held in the clerk’s office in the courthouse as usual. Early voting will be done from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 5-22.

“There may be a couple of Wednesdays that we will not vote here in Princeton,” she said. “I am trying to get approval from the State Board of Elections to go to Fredonia one Wednesday when my office is closed anyway, and the next Wednesday, go to the Bucksnort area, which will include a lot of people in the Hopkinsville Road area. They can come vote then.

“We are not voting at precincts; we are voting as a county. So, all of the ballots are the same.”

The fiscal court voted Tuesday to close the courthouse on Primary Election Day, June 23, so that voting could take place in the basement and on the first floor of the courthouse that day.

“We’re basically going to have four of the (election) poll books here in the courthouse on Election Day so you can come vote,” she said. “Now, because of COVID-19, we’re going to have to go by the distancing rules.

“It will help us tremendously if you go to GoVoteKy.com and apply for a ballot through the internet. If you do not have access to that, you can call the clerk’s office (at 270-365-6754) and we will do that for you.”

That website can also confirm if a person is registered to vote by clicking on the “Review Your Registration” link. The deadline to register to vote in the primary election was Tuesday.

Those who are not comfortable mailing a ballot to the county clerk’s office can use two dropboxes on the main floor and basement of the courthouse any time before June 23. Mailed-in ballots should be sent by June 16.

“I want people to feel comfortable with this,” Watson said. “We are encouraging (people) to apply for an absentee ballot. Let us mail it to you, then you can get it back to us the way you choose.”