County to borrow $44 million for new voting machines, other projects and to refinance debt | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

County to borrow $44 million for new voting machines, other projects and to refinance debt

Rich Cholodofsky
722957_web1_ptr-electionrig2-082316

Westmoreland County commissioners said Thursday they won’t wait for more state funding — which could become available later this year — to buy a new voting system.

“We have to move forward with this now so we have it in place before the presidential election. We want to make sure there are no hiccups,” said Commissioner Charles Anderson.

Commissioners approved borrowing $43.9 million to pay for a series of capital projects and to refinance existing debt. About $8.2 million is expected to be spent on new voting machines that will meet a mandate from Gov. Tom Wolf that counties have voting systems with a verifiable paper trail by 2020.

The governor, in his proposed budget released this week, included $75 million in grants over the next five years for counties to upgrade voting systems.

Westmoreland officials are evaluating voting systems, and officials said a decision will be reached over the next month. County officials demonstrated five different systems last summer and are now negotiating with two companies for the best price, said Commissioner Gina Cerilli.

Commissioners said they expect the new machines, which will replace the touch-screen computers used since 2005, to be used in November’s general election.

The county last year received a state grant worth more than $400,000 to help pay for the voting machines.

Because the governor’s new round of proposed grants would not be authorized, if at all, until after the 2019-20 state budget is approved this summer, county officials said they decided to move forward without any assurances that more funding will be available but could still seek out funds to help cover the cost of the new system.

“More financial help from the state is always welcome,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas.

The borrowing finalized on Thursday will provide nearly $27 million for the voting system as well as upgrades to county parks, refurbishments at Westmoreland Manor, the county-owned nursing home, improved radio communications for first responders and courthouse energy and security projects.

Another $17 million will be used to refinance existing debt, a move commissioners said will save the county $1.2 million annually through lower loan repayments.


Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or [email protected]


Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: News | Westmoreland
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.