Yavapai County Supervisors working through dozens of decisions with the new fiscal year budget have a critical decision hanging over the Elections Department’s inserter, which prepares ballots for mailing. A decision must be made before the Prescott Election this year, and they have delayed the decision for another day. The Microsoft XP software that drives the equipment becomes obsolete Oct. 1, with about a $1 million replacement cost looming. At the same time, the supervisors are looking to cut some of each of various departments’ budget requests to adopt a balanced budget for 2015-16 beginning July 1. County Recorder Leslie Hoffman, who administers Voter Registration and Early Voting, says her department has been anticipating the change for as long as three years and pricing out the options.
MIS says it would cost $150,000 to upgrade the existing sorter, but the county would still be looking at obsolete equipment. Hoffman reasons it is important to replace the existing sorter-verifier with new technology, even if the outbound element is outsourced.
The cost for equipment is about $850,000 with $500,000 of the cost for the outbound piece and $300,000 for the inbound. The purchase on a seven-year lease adds only about $6,700, Hoffman says.
But, the supervisors questioned the Recorder’s surcharge, intended to be held for equipment and software upgrades. That fund cannot be used to pay for operations that are outsourced Hoffman found; those costs would have to be paid from the General Fund.