Venango County Seeks Public Input on Purchasing of New Voting Machines

| February 13, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – Venango County is asking the public to help decide which new voting machines the county will purchase.

According to Venango County Chief Clerk/Administrator Shelly Hartle, the Commonwealth has informed the County that it will decertify the county’s current voting machines by April 2020.

“We are currently in the process of looking at two companies to replace our voting machines with,” Hartle said at the Tuesday, February 12, Venango County Commissioners meeting.

Hartle said in order to help Venango County decide which machine it will purchase, the County will hold an open house for voters and poll workers from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday, February 25, at the Atlantic Avenue United Brethren Church located at 160 Atlantic Avenue in Franklin.

“We are going to have a demonstration of both machines, and voters will actually be able to cast votes with both machines,” Hartle said. “There will be a brief survey afterward for them to fill out.”

It was stressed that the event is an open house as opposed to a meeting, and any voter in the county in welcome to come and try out the new machines.

According to Venango County Commissioner Albert “Chip” Abramovic, the two companies the County is looking at are ES&S (Election Systems and Software) and Clear Ballot. He urged county residents to go to each company’s website to view their product. Click here for the ES&S site. Click here for the Clear Ballot site.

“Both are quality companies,” Commissioner Vincent Witherup said. “We want input from the public in helping us choose which one to go with.”

Abramovic said the cost of replacing the county’s voting machines will be $750,000.00, and, as Witherup pointed out, the county doesn’t have a choice in the matter. It is mandated by the Commonwealth to do so.

When a member of the County staff asked if the Commonwealth was helping to defer some of the cost, the Commissioners pointed out that Governor Tom Wolf’s current budget includes $15 million over the next five years to help with the costs.

“The legislature still needs to approve that money,” Commissioner Tim Brooks said. “There is $50,000.00 in federal money that we know we are getting.”

Abramovic said it doesn’t appear as if Venango County would have to come up with the other $700,000.00 up front.

“It looks like we would be able to pay that over five years,” Abramovic said.


An Act 13 grant request from Pinegrove Township in the amount of $104,750.00 to replace a Township Line Road T606 road over Tarkiln Run was approved by the commissioners.

That was one of a series of requests made by Venango County Planning Executive Director Jason Ruggiero that the commissioners approved.

A DEP 902 grant in the amount of $383,892.00 for the proposed recycling center in Cranberry was also approved as was the approval of Hillary Buchanan as the LPDM Grant Administrator.

In addition, a modification to the TAP Agreement which was for a grant award for a multi-use trail along Allegheny Boulevard was approved. The modification says that the county agrees to maintain the sidewalks that will be part of the project.

A couple of approvals were needed concerning the Dotter Road Bridge project as well including giving the Commissioner Board Chairperson – Brooks – electronic signature authority and the approval of a reimbursement agreement with PennDOT for the project.

Also, a supplemental engineering agreement for the Miller Farm Bridge was approved as was a cooperation agreement with the Venango County Economic Development Authority concerning an RCAP of $1 million for the Cornplanter Square project.

Brooks was also reappointed to the Venango County Economic Development Authority – all three commissioners serve on it but Brook’s term was up so he had to be reappointed.

Reappointments of Frank Pankratz, Nancy Marano, Keith Klinger and John McClelland to the Venango County Regional Planning Commission Board were also made.


The County agreed to purchase a house at 1013 Chestnut Street in Franklin for use by Human Services for bridge housing at the cost of $55,000.00. The purchase of the house is contingent upon Franklin changing the zoning of the area, something that could happen at the March Franklin Council meeting.


A budget transfer in the amount of $10,000.00 was made from the contingency fund to the prison fund to purchase door-locking equipment for the prison.


The commissioners approved the application for an Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Plan with the Venango County Conservation District.

This is for the rehabilitation of the terminal ramp and taxiway at the airport. The plan breakdown is $500.00 to the Venango County Clean Water Fund and $900.00 to the Commonwealth Clean Water Fund.


Meeting just before the Commissioners Board, the Retirement Board agreed to enter into an agreement with Korn Ferry for a monthly fee of $2,260.00 for actuarial services. This is an increase of $33.00 over the previous contract.

The Retirement Board also agreed to send pension benefit statements to employees at a cost of $1.85 per statement.


In other business the commissioners:

  • Ratified an easement agreement with Richard and Sherri Moffitt concerning the obstruction removal process.
  • Agreed to rent a hangar at the airport to Harry Guenter for $265.
  • Ratified a PEMA 911 Funding Grant Agreement that will allow for interconnectivity of the Venango County 911 system with other counties.
  • Leased a copy machine from Ford Business Systems for the Department of Public Safety at a cost of $185.00 a month.
  • Contracted with Manpower, a temp agency, to provide temporary clerks and maintenance workers as the need arises. The county reserves the right to use other temp agencies as well.
  • Revised its Motor Vehicle Policy to include a distracted driving policy as well as revising the policy on post-accident procedures and training.
  • Heard that Two Mile Run County Park will be sending out letters for its Adopt-a-Pavilion program.
  • Approved a lease with Enterprise Fleet Management for a pickup truck with plow.
  • Contracted with TruGreen Commercial for lawn treatment services in Franklin in the amount of $2,019.52.
  • Contracted with Gary Svetz in the amount of $3,725.00 for the training of veterans.
  • Approved a contract with Otis Technologies for the installation of a camera in the courthouse elevator. It will cost $4,500.00 and be AOPC Funded.
  • Contracted with Terry Williams for election services for the 2019 primary election.
  • Entered into professional service agreements with the following attorneys to provide judicial services for CYS cases: Eric Padin, Christopher Martini, Matthew Parson, Elissa Stutler, Pamela Logsdon Sibley, Neil Rothschild, Virginia Garris Sharp and Edward McIntyre.
  • Tabled a Memorandum of Understanding with Lawrence County for My First Place rental assistances. It was tabled because no one could give the Commissioners information on what this was actually about.

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