Seneca County commissioners approved the purchase of 180 new voting machines on behalf of the Seneca County Board of Elections at its meeting Tuesday morning.
The total price of the ExpressVote equipment from Election Systems & Software, of Omaha, Nebraska, is a little more than $1,065,000 with the state paying about $648,392, leaving about $416,392 as the county’s portion of the cost as well as $16,000 per year in maintenance costs and the possibility of $60,000 per year in maintenance fees beginning in the sixth year of use.
New equipment was mandated by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
After investigation into reducing the cost, board of elections personnel reported the only way to reduce costs for the county would be to reduce the number of machines purchased, which was not optimal for the number people in the county who vote during governor and presidential election years.
The new equipment is to streamline elections and speed up tabulation while maintaining security.
The commissioners approved advertising for bids for a new roof and other improvements to Seneca County Opportunity Center at no cost to the county. The bidding process was required to be handled by the commissioners, and a bid opening was set for Feb. 14 at the commissioners’ office.
During a project explanation, Superintendent Lewis Hurst said the Opportunity Center budgeted for the improvements. He said the building was built in 1974 and is on its second roof. The current roof is 25 years old and had a life expectancy of 20 years. The project also includes improvements to the heating and air conditioning systems including switching from all electric to natural gas by running a gas line to the building.
Also Tuesday, the commissioners voted 2-1 to approve a third appraisal on 37.5 acres of land adjacent to the Seneca County Airport owned by airport manager Brad Newman. Cost of the appraisal is $2,500. Commissioner Shayne Thomas voted against the third appraisal.
The Federal Aviation Administration would pay 90 percent of the cost of the appraisal and the land purchase.
The commissioners, FAA and Newman have not been able to agree on a price. The first appraisal from May 2017 valued the land at $225,000 and a second appraisal in September 2018 came back at $600,000, which was not accepted by FAA.
“It could be valuable for some kind of expansion in the future,” said Commissioner Shayne Thomas. “If we don’t use the FAA monies, they do expire.”
The commissioners tabled a vote on awarding a bid for architectural and engineering work on a facilities master plan for the county.
The two bidders are Gossman Group, of Cincinnati, which bid $72,500-$89,500, depending on variables, and CT Consultants, with a bid of $69,000-$118,000.
The selected firm is to evaluate and make recommendations for county facilities.
During a reorganizational meeting, the board elected Mike Kerschner as vice president and assigned the three commissioners to various committees. Shayne Thomas was elected president at last week’s meeting.
The commissioners also approved:
• A contract with the Lucas County commissioners for the services of the Lucas County coroner as needed in 2019.
• Disposal of Ford Crown Victoria vehicles from the years 2004, 2007 and 2005, which were used by the Sheriff’s Office, which sold for $350, $805 and $652 respectively.
• Disposal of unneeded, obsolete or unfit county-owned property by means of online auction for 2019, retroactive to Jan. 1.
• Approved changing public relation coordinator Jimmy Flint’s job from hourly to salary.
In appropriation adjustments, the board approved:
• A $1,328 supplemental appropriation to the Record Equipment Fund.
• A $31,611.77 supplemental appropriation to the County Sewer District Fund.
• A $29,900 fund advance from the General Fund to the County Community Development BlockGrant 2017 Fund.
• A $1,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for equipment.
• A $406.91, $5.90 and a $56.97 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund on behalf of the auditor.
The board met in executive session to discuss pending litigation.
The commissioners meet again at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 at their office, 111 Madison St.