New voting equipment’s likely cost to Coon Rapids

The 10-year cost to the city of Coon Rapids for the new countywide voting equipment purchase and maintenance is estimated at $138,770 over a 10-year period.

That includes the city’s share of the purchase price as well as ongoing maintenance, according to City Clerk Cathy Sorensen.

The Coon Rapids City Council has unanimously approved a joint powers agreement for the new voting equipment project. The agreement includes not only the county and its municipalities, but also, for the first time, the school districts in the county.

The Anoka County Board has approved the agreement and Cindy Reichert, county election manager, hopes that all the municipalities and school districts will have signed off on the agreement by the end of the year so that the county can move forward with the purchase of the new equipment early in 2013.

Under the agreement, the cost sharing formula for the purchase of equipment and software, as well as maintenance, is based on the population of the community multiplied by either 30 percent for cities or 15 percent for school districts, according to Sorensen.

The county’s share of the estimated $2,489,377 project cost over 10 years will be 55 percent or $1,369,158, once a federal $327,836 grant is factored in, with the cities responsible for $746,813 and school districts $373,407, according to a spread sheet.

The annual cost to Coon Rapids is estimated to range from $9,000 in 2013, the first payment year, to $15,392 in the final year, Sorensen wrote in her report. This will be paid in the form of an annual fee to the county by Sept. 1 each of the 10 years.

By contrast, the cost to the city when the voting equipment was last replaced was $109,893, Sorensen wrote.

“While this amount is higher than the 2000 purchase, the amount can be budgeted for annually rather than through a large capital outlay purchase,” she wrote.

According to Reichert, the hope is that the new system will be in place in time for the 2013 off-year election, which typically includes just school board races and school levy questions on the ballot, but certainly for the next big election in 2014.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]