The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, Aug. 11, at the meeting room of Jose Tequila’s Grill located at 1205 East End Blvd. South. Members ordered from the menu.

President Jimmie Van Norden called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cell phones, and opened the meeting with prayer. She appointed Lion Patrick Owens to lead the Pledges of Allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags, and to lead Lions in singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and in honor of Lion Brenda Wood, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Acting Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed Lions and guests to the meeting. Guests included Lion Lori Smith of the Hutto Lions Club who is the daughter of Lions Robert and Brenda Wood as well Kara Mitchell of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church who was a guest of Lion Patrick.

Lion Patrick said the count for the day in the Den is 16. The Thought for the Day is “Don’t take yourself too seriously — no one else does!”

President Jimmie then called on Tail Twister, Chris Horsley. Lion Chris announced that Cindy Owens, spouse of Lion Patrick Owens will celebrate her birthday this week.

A baby picture of Lion Paul Martin was circulated for everyone to guess which Lion was in the picture. Eight different Lions guessed incorrectly but finally Lion Pat made the correct guess. A box of pears from Lion Chris’ pear tree and a recipe for “Pear Honey” were auctioned off for $8 to Lion Alan Grantham.

President Jimmie introduced Harrison County Judge, Chad Sims and invited him to speak.

The first thing Judge Sims did was to thank the Lions for everything they do within the community. Next, an update about the COVID-19 pandemic was provided. Judge Sims stated that there have been 700 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Harrison County. Of those 700 cases, there have been 35 fatalities, 550 recoveries and 115 active cases. Patient data (address, age and gender only) are received from the state health department daily and Judge Sims stated he was the only person in Harrison County that is responsible for keeping up with all of the statistics and providing daily updates to the citizens of Harrison County.

Judge Sims also provided an update on the county budget for the upcoming year. The proposed budget was due to be submitted to the county clerk for approval this week.

During this current budget review period, they looked at possibly lowering property tax rates but realized that it was not possible because the tax rate is already in the bottom 10% of state wide tax rates.

Judge Sims also stated that they also looked at possibly adding a county sales tax which would bring in $3 – 4 million in tax revenue each year but ultimately, adding a county sales tax would need to be approved by the voters of Harrison County.

One large expense added to the proposed budget this year is to purchase new voting equipment — cost will be around $800,000. The new equipment has to be purchased because the old equipment is continually breaking down and has been costing more to repair it than it is worth.

Purchasing the new equipment will allow for the use of open polling places to be adopted and the number of polling places to be reduced from 26 to 13.

Judge Sims said that the goal will be for the new voting equipment to be implemented by the May 2021 election.

President Jimmie Van Norden thanked Judge Sims and presented him with a Lions writing pen. She asked Lion Dudley Swofford to close with prayer and adjourned the meeting.