County purchases new voting equipment

MIFFLINTOWN — Juniata County has taken the next step toward replacing its voting system as mandated by the Pennsylvania State Legislature following action taken Tuesday by the county board of commissioners.

The board voted to ratify a sales order agreement with Election Systems and Software LLC for the purchase of new election equipment and the software that goes with it. The cost of the agreement is $224,000, according to Commissioner Alice Gray, who said the county has already secured receipt of $20,000 from the federal government to help defray the costs. She added that more aid is expected to be coming from the state.

“The governor has promised 60 percent coverage of the cost of the new voting system,” Gray said. “During last week’s C-CAP (County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania) conference, we spoke with a representative of the governor and were told instructions on how to acquire those funds will be coming soon. So we’re planning that 60 percent of the total cost will be covered. That’s as good as we can do.”

Commissioner Mark Partner also pointed out the cost includes support for hardware and software for a period of five years.

Even though the county’s existing voting system includes a verifiable “paper trail” to avoid election fraud, something the state wants from all of its voting systems, the commissioners said they have no choice but to purchase the new equipment. “I just wish we weren’t being coerced into doing it,” Partner added.

On a positive note, Gray said the county has worked with Election Systems since the installation of the current voting machines and “they’ve been good partners with our county in the past. This is actually the first time we’ve replaced voting equipment since 2007.”

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved recommendations from SEDA-COG for allocation of federal fiscal year 2019 Community Development Block Grant funding to two projects in the upcoming year.

The projects approved are $64,838, which represents partial funding for the Oakland Mills Sewage project, and $126,000, which is full-funding of the McAlisterville Area Joint Authority water spring house reconstruction project.

In other action Tuesday, the commissioners:

¯ Ratified the “Victims of Crime Act” grant proposal for the period July 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020, a 15-month continuation of the current service provision.

¯ Ratified an agreement with Fike Brothers Carpet One Floor and Home for carpet cleaning services at Children and Youth Services at a total cost of $450.

¯ Approved the annual software maintenance agreement with Equivant (CourtView-JuryTRAC) in the amount of $2,112 for the period Nov. 1, 2019, through Oct. 31, 2020.

¯ Approved a purchase of service agreement between Juniata County Children and Youth Services and James M. McClure, Esquire, for Guardian Ad Litem services at an hourly rate of $65 for the period Aug. 6, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019.

¯ Approved a memorandum of understanding between Juniata County and the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Association for child accounting and profile system application technical support for the period July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

¯ Ratified the following CDBG-IDIS checks: $5,711.52 to 4-M Construction for project costs; and $10,140.84 to the EADS Group for project costs.

¯ Ratified a Home Housing Rehab Project check in the amount of $6,230 to BK Bower for project costs.

¯ Appointed County Planning Director Bradley Kerstetter to the Middle Susquehanna Bicycle and Pedestrian Subcommittee, which is currently working on a “Rails to Trails” project between Mifflinburg and Lewisburg.

¯ Authorized the use of the county’s records improvement fund to purchase a desktop computer system and related components for the treasurer’s office at a maximum cost of $739.99.

¯ Approved the hiring of Karen Stouffer as a full-time clerical/field assessor with the Juniata County Assessment Office, effective Aug. 20, with wages and benefits as per the current bargaining unit contract.

¯ Approved the hiring of Denise Marker as a civil service clerk typist I in the Children and Youth Services office, effective Aug. 27. Marker replaces an employee who has resigned.

¯ Approved a change in employment status for Pamela King from part-time deputy register and recorder to full-time status in the same position, effective Aug. 20.

¯ Approved two weeks worth of bills in the amount of $288,602.26.