After Madison county voters took to the polls in a special election, two county jobs will not be merging into one job. County commissioners said the election cost taxpayers more than $300,000. “Special elections are always a big production,” said Probate Judge Tommy Ragland. On the ballot for the special election held Tuesday was a proposal to combine the county tax assessor and tax collector jobs into one. Voters ultimately decided to keep the two jobs separate. “Everybody is needed in both offices,” said tax collector Lynda Hall. “There are over 175,000 parcels in this county that are supposed to be appraised annually, mapped and valued – and this is just in the assessor office.” After county commissioners said the election would cost taxpayers around $300,000, we started asking questions.
“We have 75 precincts in the county,” said Ragland. “By law we have to have an inspector and four poll workers. At some of our precincts we may have a few more poll workers than we do at others, so you do the math on that.”
Ragland said the poll workers are paid $150 for the day. The inspectors make $200. Then there are behind the scenes costs.
“The machines are rented and they have to be paid, the ballots have to be printed,” Ragland said. “There has to be manpower to get them out, manpower to maintain the precinct and then manpower to take in information.”