Commissioners purchase new voting equipment

The Washington County Board of Commissioners signed a purchase agreement for long-awaited voting equipment during their meeting Thursday morning.

In 2018, Ohio lawmakers approved a Voting Equipment Acquisition Program, which set aside more than $114 million to purchase new equipment for all 88 counties. The program allows each county’s board of commissioners to choose their own voting equipment and services from five vendors. Washington County chose Unisyn Voting Solutions for its voting system.

“What I observed is that it fell within the amount that the state is actually providing for us to purchase this equipment,” said Commission President David White.

The total system cost is $748,556, of which Ohio will pay $748,545.70.

“Just about $10 is all we have to pay,” said Mandy Amos, director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

She explained to the commission that with the system chosen, voters can use a touch screen or a hand-marked version, but either way, a ballot will be printed out.

In other commission news:

• This was the last meeting for the commission at the Davis Avenue location. The board is currently in the process of moving to the second floor of 1115 Gilman Ave.

• John “Eric” Johnston was appointed to the Washington County Behavioral Health Board. He is a current resident of Marietta and a 2017 graduate of Case Western University with a master of science degree in social administration. He is currently employed as a hospice social worker.

• Christopher Wilson, chief building official with the Southeast Ohio Building Department, promoted Erica Folden from senior permit clerk to office manager. He said the position, which was just created, will allow Folden to oversee the department’s receipts and bills. She has been handling these duties for the last six months.

• A bid was recommended for the Alan Stone Company of Williamstown to repair a landslip on County Road 42. It was estimated to cost $1.2 million to fix, but the bid came in at approximately $774,000.

The repair will be funded through reimbursement by the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. It was recommended that the county pay in $200,000 increments, which will then be reimbursed. When the project is finished, there will be a full reimbursement. The project will be started when the money is available. It will take approximately eight months to finish.

• Commissioners approved the purchase of a new truck for the county engineer, Roger Wright. The truck purchased was a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD from Pioneer Chevrolet. The purchase price was $42,105. Wright said he preferred to purchase it locally. This will be a replacement truck and the truck currently in use will be used as a backup.

• Mike Montgomery, board of directors president of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley, spoke to the commissioners about the society’s veterinarian bills. Montgomery said 30 percent of the society’s budget goes toward vet bills, which average $9,400 a month.

“We’ve spent $75,000 since November and the year isn’t up yet,” he added.

He said every animal that comes into the shelter gets checked by the vet. The costs include any medications or shots the animal needs, as well as spaying or neutering the animal.

The humane society is also looking to build a separate 50-foot-by-50 foot building to house cats. The original building will be used for the dogs.

“I’m not sure of the cost yet,” Montgomery said of the new building. “But it’s $85,000 just for the cages.”

The society currently has 250 cats and 65 dogs, with many being fostered by volunteers.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

Dates to remember

• Regular weekly meeting, 9 a.m. Thursday at 1115 Gilman Ave., second floor.

• Township Association meeting, 6:30 p.m. Thursday at county engineer’s office.

• Monthly County Home meeting, 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13 at county home.

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