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Vote Centers A Proposed Discussion With Monroe County Budget

Monroe County will tackle the contentious issue of vote centers again in the coming weeks. County Clerk Linda Robbins says she will propose vote centers during upcoming budget talks.Robbins made the statement at an August 7 meeting of the County Election Board.

“We are also going to look at comparing costs of precinct voting to vote centers so we’re going to try and tackle that again with some comparative costs,” Robbins says.

Switching to a vote center model would shrink the number of voting locations in the County. But a resident could vote at any of the locations instead of being limited to a single precinct. In the past, county Republicans have opposed the change.

Robbins insists it could save hundreds of thousands of dollars during each election.

“There’s been pushback from certain individuals about these centers,” Robbins says. “Any cost we incur with this will be charged back to the city, not the county.”

The Board plans to begin 2015 budget discussions on August 12.

Water Pumping Project Finishes $250,000 Under Budget

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The construction of a new water pumping station came in at about $260,000 under budget, according to officials at a Bloomington Utilities Service Board meeting on Feb. 24.

Michael Hicks, the Utilities Department’s capital projects manager, submitted a change order on the $6.5 million project.

“The project is complete and with the approval of this change order we can close out the project with our contractor,” Hicks said.

The construction was performed by the Orleans-based company Layne Incorporated, but the engineering was done by the Kansas-based company Black and Veatch.

Adam Westerman, from Black and Veatch, said the project did not cost as much as expected, in part because the contractor didn’t spend its full budget for items like office supplies, equipment, and furniture.

Board member Jason Banach asked Westerman about the city paying for a contractor’s supplies.

“Is this something we typically pay for, their pens and pencils?” Banach asked.

“We’ve handled it different ways historically, but for the past eight years we’ve taken on the cost of that,” Westerman said, “And anything left comes back to the city.”

The board later voted unanimously to approve the change order.

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