BUDGET HEARINGS: County Commission plans for future elections

·2 min read

Jul. 21—Elections have been a big topic of discussion throughout out the country, and locally, Charles Woodroof, probate Judge, discussed the election budgets for the upcoming fiscal year during Monday's budget meeting.

In last year's election budget, they only had one general election budgeted for a special, primary and run-off elections. This fiscal year, from October 1, 2021-September 30, 2022, there will be two primary elections, potentially two run-offs depending on how many candidates qualify and a special election just in case one is needed.

The current budget sits at $384,249, this election cycle is for $443,795 going from three elections on the last budget to potentially five this upcoming year.

"The main increases are from getting more people involved. We got IT, engineering, and we're very grateful for the district workers that have helped on election night," Woodroof said. "We got more voters, so more ballots, more supplies. We're pushing 71,000 registered voters."

Woodroof acknowledged that "tweaking" may be needed when re-districting lines are drawn.

The primary election will be May 24, 2022. A potential run-off would be June 6, 2021. More information can be found at https://www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes/voter/upcoming-elections

On the office side of the things for Woodroof, he noted that last year his office had more marriage certificates, notary publics and court cases than any of the eight years he has been in office.

"We had the highest we have ever had in basically everything we did," Woodruff said. "The numbers were just off the charts in everything."

Due in large part to the growth within Limestone County and the averages they've seen through June 2021, he expects to break the numbers set from the previous year.

IT improving cybersecurity

For many, however, much has changed in over the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments have had to deal with increased retirements, increases in new employees and even adding to departmental organizational structures. Jonathan Yerdon, a part of the County's Information Technology department, acknowledged not much has changed with a few exceptions inside their department, but there was a large increase in computer equipment costs. The increase results from firewall being replaced. He added that everything with the new firewall software has been great, but the maintenance cost for it is rather high. He bought two firewalls, one called a cold spare that stays on the shelf until the other one goes bad.

Yerdon added an additional $34,000 for a high availability configuration for the firewalls.

"Now with this new system, since it's being shared with the sheriff's office, 911 and the hospital, we depend on that," he said. "What this will allow me to do is if one fails, the other one immediately takes over the other's identity and we're back up. This happens in a matter of seconds."

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