County elections board receives $1.45 million
By Kathleen Folkerth
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Summit County Board of Elections will receive an additional $1.45 million to help it meet expenses as it prepares for the Nov. 7 General Election.
Summit County Council unanimously approved the appropriation on first reading at the Sept. 11 meeting.
“This will supplement our budget,” said Bryan Williams, Board of Elections director. “In many of our items we’re down to no money. We need additional funds to prepare for the election.”
Linda Phelps, director of finance and budget for Summit County Executive James McCarthy, said the board needs the additional funds for supplies, printing of ballots, overtime and training. Much of the overtime is due to the number of petitions the board has received to put issues on the ballot.
“We did not know we’d have an additional 233,000 signatures to verify,” Williams told council. “We’ve had an unprecedented amount of overtime.”
According to the legislation, $381,600 is for part-time employee salaries and $270,000 is for overtime.
Williams added that another unforeseen
expense is the printing of ballots, which appear to
require two pages because of the number of issues. A
one-page ballot costs 32 cents
to print, and a two-page ballot is double that, or 64
cents, Williams said.
The board also has had to rent
space to store the county’s new voting equipment.
Box trucks must be rented to transport the machinery
to polling sites, Williams said.
Councilman Pete Crossland (D-District
4) questioned the need for many
of the items and raised concerns about the first-reading
“It’s a large amount
of money,” Crossland said. “What if we dealt
with this two weeks from tonight?”
“If we wait more than a
week, we would have something short of an election crisis
on our hands,” Williams replied. The
shortfall was not unexpected. In August, during her
budget update, Phelps told County Council the Board
of Elections would be coming up short due to election
costs. At that time, she estimated they’d need
“After meeting with the
board and asking them to put pencil to the numbers,
they increased their request
substantially,” Phelps said.
The request came out to $1.7
million, but Phelps said the board was able to get it
down to the $1.45 million amount.
“Bryan has assured me that
next year’s budget is not going to look like this,”
She added that Cuyahoga County
has had to provide extra
funding for its board of elections, and Montgomery County,
which is similar in size to Summit, is also considering
an increase in its election funding.
In other business, Council unanimously
voted against a proposal to use 5 acres of property
at Goodyear Heights Metro Park for a new county
animal control facility. The proposal,
submitted by McCarthy, had come under fire by residents
across the street from the planned development as well
as Tallmadge Mayor Christopher Grimm.
Council also adopted all routine
legislation unanimously agreed to by committee, including
a grant to the MAPS Air Museum for $15,000.
Summit County Council is scheduled
to meet for committee meetings Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m.
in council chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio
Building, 175 S. Main St.