Commissioners move election money

By Michael Williamson -

The Madison County Board of Elections requested Monday that the County Commissioners move $6,252 from the Election Revenue Fund to cover cost increases from August’s special election. Appropriations would be advanced to cover office salaries, benefits and insurance.

The special election was held in early August to vote on an emergency levy for Madison-Plains Local Schools, which resulted in an increase in office hours for employees at the Board of Elections.

“It’s primarily because you had 42 hours of overtime because of the extended absentee voting,” said Tim Ward, Director of Madison County Board of Elections. According to Ward, absentee voting creates a large increase in cost given the extended hours.

“We still have to have four PEOs (Precinct Election Official) at every single precinct,” Ward said. “When we went from 43 precincts down to 27 precincts, that’s how we moved from $22,000 for PEO pay down to about $14,000. So it’s a huge savings in that aspect.”

Absentee ballots account for 25 percent of the votes cast in Madison County; however, once postage and mailing is factored in, the cost of absentee ballots is around $10 or more per vote whereas voting at a person’s polling location on Election Day is closer to 29 cents. This makes absentee voting a more expensive system of voting for the county.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Bill Laney, President of the Madison County Airport Board, updated the commissioners on the status of the paperwork from the 2015 Hangar Grant Project. He asked that the commissioners approve the county’s percent of the local share costs of the project which balanced out to $66,440.67.

In 2014, the Madison County Airport began the early stages of building a new, 10-hangar building. The structure cost nearly $800,000 — $700,000 of which came from a Federal Aviation Administration grant. Other funds came from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and a local share of 10 percent which would be paid for by the county.

“By ODOT coming and getting in the game, we were able to keep that 10 percent. We actually got that 10 percent down to about 8 percent,” Laney said. “So out of a total $800,000 project for that hangar, that’s why our local share ended up only being about $66,000. That’s part of the support that county has given with the local share.”

Out of the 10 new hangars, eight of them are already rented. Rental fees and fuel sales are the biggest income generator for the airport. The low fuel cost brings in a lot of otherwise missed business. The cost of airplane fuel is around $4.40 per gallon compared to near $6 per gallon at stations in Columbus.

By Michael Williamson

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.

Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.