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By Jimmie Earls
Sun Staff Writer
According to figures provided by Washington County Clerk Glenn Black, if you were one of the 5,438 people in Washington County who voted in last month’s election, you cost the county $3.85.
Black reported at the Washington County Fiscal Court meeting on Monday that the county spent a total of $20,928.11 during the Nov. 4 election. Precinct officers were paid $6,651, commissioners got $1,220, tabulators were paid $480 and a machine technician earned $375. Space rental cost the county $390, printing was another $545 while miscellaneous expenses came to $270.53.
The biggest expense to the county was Harp Enterprises, a company that sells and maintains voting equipment. They were paid $10,995.98, which accounts for half of the county’s cost.
Washington County has 8,067 registered voters, which meant there was a 67 percent voter turn-out last month.
Black also addressed the court about the purchase of new voting machines. The county currently has $63,000 in escrow for the purchase of new e-scan voting machines. Black would like to purchase a total of 15 machines, one for each precinct plus one spare, at a cost of $4,500 each. The money in escrow is enough to pay for 14 machines. Black requested an additional $12,000 from the county to pay for the extra machine, plus 33 portable voting booths and additional materials.
The manufacturer has stated the each machines will increase $900 in price after the first of the year, raising the cost to approximately $5,400 each.
The court appointed a committee consisting of Black, Jimmie Carrico and Pat Sutton to look into the purchase of the voting machines and report back at the next fiscal court meeting.
In other business
• A proposed budget was given to the court by Melissa Knopp of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. The 2009 budget would include additional expenses to cover the hiring and outfitting of security officers and baliffs for the new judicial center. It will cost the county approximately $1,130 to equip each security guard.
• The court approved a motion to allow the use of the old PVA office by the Department for Employment Services. The county is hoping to have the office designated as a career center through the Lincoln Trail Area Development District. The city of Springfield has agreed to supply the labor to paint and fix the office up, while the county will supply the materials. Once ready, the new career center could be open by late January or early February next year.
“We’re hoping to have not just employment or unemployment services,” said county magistrate Hal B. Goode. “We want to expand on that and help people find jobs, work on resumes and improve interview skills. We can do all of that under this career center. We’re stepping up to the plate, staying in the game and showing this community that we will provide this service one way or another.”
• The senior citizen center submitted a request to the court for $1,000 per month to offset the cost of meals. The court chose to take no action until they could be provided figures on the number of meals served and the cost per meal.
• The court appointed Belle Sutton to replace Robert Hamilton on the Washington County library board and re-appointed Martha Ann Haydon to another three-year term to the Washington County Cooperative Extension Board.
• The court accepted the resignation of Mike Colvin, a supervisor at the Regional Recycling Center and agreed to advertise for a replacement.