For the fourth time, Young County Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan pitched the purchase of new election equipment to county officials, and, for the fourth time, county officials tabled the item.

The Young County Commissioners Court will discuss the new equipment one final time at its June 30 meeting; the last day the county can purchase the equipment at a drastically reduced price, according to representatives from its manufacturers, Hart Intercivic.

The court’s last-minute approach has to do with the cost, more than $330,000 over 60 months, a deal that Sullivan said the county will not see again once the June 30 deadline for the discounted “cutting edge” Hart Intercivic Verity election equipment passes. Once the deadline passes, the new equipment, which Sullivan said will become a necessity one way or another, could raise in price as much as $150,000.

As of now, a 60-month finance agreement after discounts and early-purchase considerations are tallied would cost Young County approximately $67,000 per year. According to County Auditor Cheryl Roberts, that amounts to an expenditure of about .006 percent of an average yearly Young County budget.

“It really depends on what you’re comparing this to in terms of the county budget,” Roberts said of the import of this purchase compared to other line items. S

he added that if county officials agree to finance the Hart equipment, she sees a multi-year finance deal as the more practical option over a one-time payment.

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Also topping the list of concerns for the court is how much money the county can get for the sale of its current equipment. At a special session of the Young County Election Commission meeting on June 13, Sullivan told the commission that so far eight Texas counties have shown interest in purchasing Young County’s equipment, Ector County being foremost in contention.

At this Monday’s meeting, Sullivan said that according to her research, a fair market value for the equipment is approximately $65,000, and Commissioner Mike Sipes said that amount could go a long way toward swaying his decision and encouraged the election administrator to try and increase the sale price.

Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.