Delaware County will add 25 new voting machines for November’s presidential election.
Delaware County Board of Elections Director Karla Herron approached county commissioners Monday for $52,875 for the purchase of 25 voting machines and software for the upcoming general election.
Commissioner Gary Merrell said that when he had first heard of the purchase, he didn’t like buying 25 machines when they would be replaced in two years. “I understand the need to have a successful election in November,” he said. “I’m just calling it an insurance policy.”
Herron said each machines will accommodate 175 voters on Election Day. The hope is to eliminate the possibility of lines at the machines, she said. “Currently we have 130,000 registered voters in Delaware County,” she said. “We had the highest turnout for any presidential primary.”
“We anticipate looking forward for the general election to potentially be record turnouts,” Herron said.
Commissioners approved the resolution to purchase the additional machines.
In other business, county Treasurer Jon Peterson informed commissioners on the benefit of creating a county land bank. County land banks are organizations reclaiming, rehabilitating and re-utilizing nonproductive land.
“You can make the property useful again,” said Robin Darden Thomas, land bank program director for Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Since forming the first county land bank in Cuyahoga County, the program has been successful. “Subsequent legislation pronouncement since then has authorized all the counties in the state of Ohio to participate to form a land bank,” Peterson said.
The program is designed to take control of vacant or tax-delinquent properties. “You can re-purpose vacant lots,” Thomas told commissioners. “You can make a determination how it is going to be used.”
Commissioners would have to establish a board that includes a minimum of five people. The board must consist of two county commissioners, the treasurer, a person from the largest city in the county and one township member. Land banks are established by government but are not run by the government. “It is a private nonprofit organization,” Thomas said.
County land banks can be funded through the county’s delinquent tax and assessment collection fund for operating income.
The program is for community areas only. Buildings standing in the middle of a field wouldn’t be accepted. Properties can be refurbished for resale by a local contractor or the local vocational school. “Any funds that come from the sale of a property stays with the county,” Thomas said.
Thomas said next-door neighbors will usually purchases properties as side lots when buildings have been demolished.
“Land banks helps to reduce the flipping of properties,” said Jim Rokakis, vice president and director, Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Commissioners took no action on the land bank discussion.
D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.