The lease of new Hancock County voting machines moved a step closer Tuesday, when the county commissioners unanimously approved a vendor agreement with Dominion Voting Systems Inc.

The county will pay a one-time lease payment of about $200,000. The state will own the machines, the Secretary of State will lease the equipment from the state and the county will sub-lease the equipment from the Secretary of State.

Last month, the county elections board selected Dominion as the machine vendor at a cost of $1.41 million.

A state grant of about $836,000 to help offset the cost and an equipment trade-in allowance of about $383,261 makes the county’s cost for the new equipment about $200,037.

There have been discussions for months as the elections board reviewed state-approved vendors and had two vendors demonstrate their equipment. The commissioners had discussed the purchase of the equipment. But the lease agreement contract will be signed by the elections board and the vendor.

A majority of the county’s share will come from Federal Emergency Management Agency funds received by the county after the August 2007 flood damaged the elections board office on East Lincoln Street. The county received about $117,000 in the settlement.

Separately, a resolution was approved to contract with MJ Martin, Lincoln, Nebraska, for $123,920 to complete a jail and justice system study following negotiations on the contract.

The company was ranked highest among three finalists considered for the project, which is expected to take several months to complete.

The work is required by the state Department Of Rehabilitation and Corrections to determine justice system needs prior to expansion of the jail or construction of a new jail.

Also, the commissioners approved the purchase of six roll-off containers to replace equipment used at Litter Landing. Wastequip, Millersburg, will provide the containers for about $62,557.

The commissioners also signed off on plat plans for Hickory Lake 3rd Addition, building lots developed by a road extension and cul-de-sac construction, located off Marion Township 242, east of Findlay.

Separately, county personnel continue to deal with an electrical power surge last week which disrupted phone, computer, printer operations and internet service for offices in the courthouse and the public defender’s office, located in leased space near the courthouse but connected to the county’s computer system.

There has been no cost estimate developed, according to auditor office personnel, as the situation is still being evaluated to determine what repairs are needed.

Maurer: 419-427-8420

Send an E-mail to Jim Maurer