County looks to merge election districts
PENN YAN—Yates County is working to combine several voting districts within the county. Amy Daines, the Republican Commissioner at the county’s Board of Elections, said some merging has already been done. Last year, the Potter 1 district joined with Potter 2 and Milo 1 with Milo 2. Daines explained the county wants to do more combining and reduce the number of districts from 18 to 12. They intend to combine Benton 1 and 2, Jerusalem 1 and 2, Jerusalem 2 and 3 and Starkey 1 and 2. However, N.Y. State Election Law 4-100 currently prevents further merging from occurring. The law limits the number of voters in an election district to 1,150.
During the county’s legislature meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, a resolution was passed requesting the state increase their limit of voters in an election district from 1,150 to 2,500.
Democratic Commissioner Robert Brechko said fewer voting districts would mean less money needed for election inspectors, ballots, poll books and programming of ballots. Brechko also added Yates County is fortunate because all of its districts fall in the same congressional, assembly and legislative districts. He said that makes district merging less complicated.
The request from the legislature follows a resolution passed last December asking the state to hold their 2012 state and federal primaries on the same date. The legislature made this request after a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice put the Sept. 11, 2012 state primary in question. The potential change in that election date created concerns about an unbudgeted third primary election. Daines said that the county has budgeted for two primaries and the general election in November. She explained an additional $20,000 would be needed if a third primary is held. The only election dates set for the county are the Presidential primary on April 24 and the general election. However, the Republican commissioner is confident state and federal primaries will be on the same day.
“There is a feeling they (the state) will combine them,” Daines said.
Both commissioners also believe increasing the voting districts will lessen the amount of disenfranchised voters. Brechko feels that fewer districts will reduce the chance of a voter showing up at a center where they are not registered. He feels an obligation to make sure everyone has their vote counted. “If someone does not have the right to vote because of something we did, then shame on us,” Brechko stated.
In other business:
• The legislature recognized Yates County employees for milestones every five years. Those acknowledged for five year anniversaries were Jason D. Brewer, Nancy A. Oppel, and Frederick F. Proietti from the Social Services Department; Rae Jean Coon from the Sheriff’s Office; Juliah H. Field from the Public Health Department and Dustin J. Fox from the Highway Department.
Ten year recognitions included Jason D. Bassett, Dusty L. Blumbergs, Gregory S. Fingar, Amy S. McAdams, Jeffrey T. Meyers and Gloria J. Sands from the Sheriff’s Office; Gary A. Christensen, Rodney S. Phillips and Lance R. Yonge from the Highway Department; Alicia A. Dailey and Krystine M. Leo from Social Services; Donald V. Osgood from Buildings and Grounds and Jeanette R. Ringsmith from the Historian’s Office.
Those recognized for 15 years were Derek A. Blumbergs, Eric P. Marelli, Joan F. McMillen and Dorothy E. Rider from the Sheriff’s Office; Cynthia W. Chapman and Heather J. McLoud from Public Health; Sandra L. King and Diane E. Weaver from Social Services and Robert C. Walker and David W. Wright from the Highway Department.
Twenty year recognitions were presented to Sharon A.H. Dawes from the Probation Department, Christine D. DiRisio, Roger C. Miller and Richard L. Simpson from the Sheriff’s Office; Connie C. Hayes from the Legislative Office, Leslie P. Norton from the Highway Department; Social Services Department retirees Joan A. Orr and Steven L. Smith; and Brian C. Winslow from the Office of Emergency Management.
Those recognized for 25 years were John E. Hall of the Highway Department; David S. Head and Randy R. Schwingle of the Sheriff’s Office; Treasurer Bonnie L. Percyl and Daryn A. Potts of Social Services.
Michael J. Christensen and John W. Warner of the Sherrif’s Office were recognized for 30 years of service and Buildings and Grounds retiree Bruce A. Warfield was acknowledged for 35 years. Legislature Chairman H. Taylor Fitch showed his gratitude to those being recognized. “We appreciate what you do for the community,” he said.
• A resolution was passed to eliminate the Sr. Typist position at the Sheriff’s Office to create a regular typist position. Administrator Sarah Purdy explained this would result in $1,565 of annual savings.
• Fitch was authorized to sign contracts for facilitated enrollment projects with S2AY Network and the N.Y. State Department of Health for 2012. The contract is for $504,000 with S2AY and $510,000 with the Department of Health.
• A three year renewal agreement with Bray Associates at $2,200 per year was approved. Located in The Woodlands, Texas, the organization provides counseling and educational programs on critical and stress incidents.
• The legislature approved direct payments to the Yates County Cooperative Extension ($246,311) and Soil & Water Conservation District ($94,975) appropriated for 2011.
• A resolution was passed to authorize the payment of real property tax refunds in the amount of $2,500 or less.
• Deborah A. Minor was reappointed public health director/director of public health services through Jan. 31, 2013.
• A resolution was passed to sign an agreement with Yates County Community Services to support The Traditional Case Management Program. The contract is for $25,572 and runs till Dec. 31, 2012.