Commissioners hear proposals

Chad Taylor, right, asks the Clinton County commissioners Monday about the $2,300 bill the Veterans’ Service Commission had to pay. Taylor, a board member of the VSC, arrived with Ray Souder, VSC executive director, center, and fellow board member Rodney “Butch” Whitaker, left. Commissioners agreed they would pay the entire bill.

WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Board of Elections asked Clinton County’s commissioners to create a new fund, finance it with fees generated by election officials and use it to replace aging equipment.

Shane Breckel, director of the board of elections, said the current equipment’s recommended life span ends two years from now.

“I wanted to talk to you guys today about establishing this fund so that we can start to have a plan together to get that equipment replaced, especially at the precinct level, sometime in the next few years,” said Breckel.

Commissioners took no action after hearing the presentation. Commissioner Pat Haley said it sounded fine to him but the commissioners would need to discuss it.

Breckel said he’d like to purchase newer scanners only as needed to remain flexible in case state government requires changes to the election process. He estimated needing 39 or 40. The scanners cost about $6,000 each.

If passed, the fund would receive revenue from fees collected by elections officials. Currently, those fees are passed on to the county’s general fund.

In 2013, the Board of Elections collected more than $15,000 in such fees. In 2014, it collected more than $39,000.

According to Breckel, the funds would only be used for replacing equipment and couldn’t be used to fund employees’ salaries or other expenses.

“I think this is something that’s been needed for quite a while,” said Ann Reno, Board of Elections member and chair of the Clinton County Democratic Party. “We’re going to have to buy these.”

Commissioners also:

• Met with Chad Taylor, Ray Souder and Rodney “Butch” Whitaker of the Veterans’ Service Commission. Taylor explained that the VSC had to pay $1,000 for soldier burials’ upkeep. The $2,300 bill was paid by VSC with $1,300 from the commissioners. The commissioners said it was their intent to pay the whole bill since the Ohio Revised Code places the burden of upkeep for soldiers’ burials on commissioners. The commissioners apologized and asked for a copy of the invoice. The VSC will have to initiate the transfer by appropriating money in its budget, so no money has moved yet.

• Discussed transitioning the submission of bills to Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl’s office for review with Habermehl and Chief Deputy Auditor Carol McFall. The auditor’s office will resume reviewing bills before passing them on to the commissioners for approval. McFall said training or other support for departments will be available. Habermehl ceased reviewing the bills in February after he and the commissioners exchanged letters, as previously reported.

Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-382-2574, ext. 2510 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.