Costs high for '08 presidential race
A presidential campaign with no incumbent has Cass County Auditor Michael Montplaisir preparing for a challenging 2008 election season. "I think it's probably going to be the largest election in the county history," Montplaisir said Monday as he ...
A presidential campaign with no incumbent has Cass County Auditor Michael Montplaisir preparing for a challenging 2008 election season.
"I think it's probably going to be the largest election in the county history," Montplaisir said Monday as he pitched a $466,484 elections budget to county commissioners.
The county spent $383,880 on the 2006 elections.
Commissioners, who are working to pare proposed expenses that initially totaled $1.6 million more than revenues, didn't bite on everything in the election's budget.
Montplaisir wants to increase wages for election workers from $8 an hour to at least $11 an hour, in some cases $11.86.
His proposal was aimed at recruiting election workers, who've become difficult to find nationwide. Montplaisir also said the change would more fairly compensate the workers.
Commissioners balked at the increase, approving instead a $9 hourly wage.
They also culled $5,000 designated for a trailer that would haul some election equipment to training sessions and an early voting site.
"Is there any good news with this election?" Commissioner Darrell Vanyo asked Montplaisir.
"Yes," he replied. "It's going to get more expensive in future years."
Among the election changes authorized by the state Legislature are vote centers, which would allow citizens to vote at any poll instead of limiting them to assigned sites. It would also reduce the overall number of polling sites.
Implementing that program next year would cost between $600,000 and $700,000, Montplaisir said.
Instead, the county plans to offer early voting this year, which was popular when the county tried it four years ago. Cass will work toward implementing voting centers in 2010, Montplaisir wrote in a memo.
Also on Monday:
- Bonanzaville should receive $56,400 in county funding next year, commissioners decided. The $4,400 increase is the same amount board members cut from the Red River Valley Fair's county appropriation, Vanyo said.
Bonanzaville requested $100,000, as it has for several years. Commissioners have increased the annual appropriation each year, but have not given the nonprofit local history museum and pioneer village its entire request
- Commissioners continued to cull requests for new employees and other new expenses in their effort to reduce costs next year.
They eliminated a new file clerk in the state's attorney's office, a new employee from the veterans service office budget, a temporary employee from the already-cut social services budget and several positions requested in the sheriff's budget.
The county's expenses for the general fund next year are still about $500,000 more than the fund's projected revenue of $21.45 million, Montplaisir said.
Commissioners are expected to set the preliminary budget next week.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556