New voting machines among the items approved by the Butler County Commission

Probate Judge Ann Steiner Gregory’s proposal to replace outdated Automark voting machines discussed during the recent Butler County Commission meeting.

During the meeting, Judge Gregory explained the many benefits of switching to the newer machines.

“These new machines are  lightweight, smaller, easier to set up, and more accommodating to the visually impaired,” Judge Gregory explained. “Because these machines are touch screens, we wouldn’t have to spend any additional funds on ink cartridges. And because we already have money in the election budget for maintenance, we wouldn’t use additional funds to maintain them. In fact, these new machines would actually save us money.”

The maintenance cost of current machines is $6,000. The newer machines would cost $4,000.

Judge Gregory says the county would need to pledge to use the $5,000 balance left in HAVA (Help America Vote Act) funds to pay for maintenance fees and sign a four-year commitment contract to get the new equipment.

“We’re already using HAVA funds to pay for maintenance for the old machines,” Judge Gregory said. ” If we don’t swap to the newer equipment, the money will be gone, and we will be stuck with outdated equipment.”

The proposal got approval.

Following this , Josh Sims, assistant director of the Butler County EMA,proposed using funds received for Hurricane Zeta from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for personal storm shelters.

Sims proposed to use the $48,000 grant money to cover a portion of a homeowner’s storm shelter during a presentation.

The proposal would result in the county covering up to $4,000 for each shelter.

“Previously, a homeowner would pick out a shelter and would pay upfront 25 percent of the cost,” explained Sims. “The county would pay the other 75 percent, a max of $4,000 per shelter, and then we file for reimbursement.”

This proposal was approved.

In other business, the commission:

  • Approve an agreement for sales tax collection with Avenue Insights and Analytics LLC
  • Approved setting up a Money Market checking account for American Rescue Plan Act funds at Community Neighbor Bank
  • Made a reminder for the employee wellness screening on May 2
  • Announced the Lions Club’s  Veterans Day celebration at Greenville High School