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News

Voting machines to have paper trail

NDN Staff Writer

A new law passed by the Iowa Legislature earlier this year requires all counties to have voting systems with a paper record for review by the voter, and in the event a recount is requested. Currently, Jasper County’s primary voting system is an optical scan system with direct recording electronic voting machines (DRE) for accessibility by handicapped voters, and the county has purchased paper record printer attachments that are compatible with the county’s current DRE voting machines. The attachments will allow voters to print out a copy of the ballot which can be counted in the usual manner. The paper trail is not available on the DRE equipment at this time, Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott said. The new equipment must be in place by Jan. 1, 2008, but Jasper will be utilizing the new attachments in the September school board elections, Parrott said. The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution informing the state of Jasper’s option for the voting systems.

CIRTPA membership: The Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance (CIRTPA) performs the transportation planning responsibilities as required by the Iowa Department of Transportation in order for Iowa’s regional planning affiliations to receive federal surface transportation funds. The counties of Jasper, Boone, Dallas, Madison, Marion, Polk, Story and Warren, and the cities of Newton, Adel, Boone, Indianola, Knoxville, Nevada, Pella, Perry, Story City and Winterset make up the CIRTPA membership. CIRTPA cooperates with the Federal Highway Administration, the Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency (HIRTA), and other agencies to fulfill its transportation planning responsibilities. Each member government may appoint its own representatives to CIRTPA’s Transportation Policy Committee (TPC) and the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC). Jasper County’s representative to CIRTPA’s TPC is supervisor John Parsons, and Newton’s representative is Bryan Friedman, who is serving as committee chair. Jasper County Engineer Jim Christensen is a member of the TTC committee for the county, and Newton’s representative is Public Works Director David Stewart. Funding for CIRTPA is from the member governments based on population. Jasper County’s portion of the funding request from CIRTPA is $2,888, and the supervisors approved the funding request at its meeting Tuesday. In its long-range transportation plan, CIRTPA’s Unified Planning Work Program for fiscal year 2008 includes a freight corridor study promoting Highway 163 in Jasper County, as well as highways U.S. 63 and U.S. 34 as alternative freight corridors to Interstate 80, particularly for freight movements to the south and southeastern regions of the United States, as well as bringing economic development to the corridor. CIRTPA also provides planning for public transportation, bicycle and hiking trails, conducts traffic counts and assesses accident information at potentially dangerous intersections and roadways. In other action Tuesday, the supervisors: • Rejected the sole bid from First Newton National Bank for a $200,000 general obligation capital loan note, at a rate of 8.25 percent. The interest rate could be reduced if the county accepted a 10-year repayment schedule rather than 20 years, Auditor Dennis Parrott said. The county will re-solicit for bids for the loan notes. • Approved the Greater Newton Area Chamber of Commerce’s calendar of events for the coming year for utilization of the county courthouse grounds. Events include Farmer’s Market each Tuesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. through Oct. 2; the Fourth of July Celebration; Ridiculous Days on July 20 and 21; Sesquicentennial Celebration on Aug. 2; Farm and City Night on Aug. 22; Thanks With Franks on Sept. 6; and the Lighted Christmas Parade on Nov. 23. • Approved the purchase of new firewall technology for $10,935. The current firewall is seven years old and only protects the county’s data from Internet hackers. The newer, “smart” technology can provide multiple layers of defense and stop viruses and spyware, as well as provide web-content filtering and reporting of incidents for possible prosecution. • The supervisors also approved an upgrade for the Planning and Zoning Department’s plotter. The current plotter, used for printing aerial photographic maps, is seven years old and has limited print quality and processing power. The print files become too large for the machine to process efficiently. CDW-G of Vernon Hills, Ill. will provide a new plotter at a cost of $4,889. • Approved the low bid of General Fire and Safety Equipment Co. of Des Moines for fire alarm systems at the new Community Center for $5,000. • Approved the hiring of Travis Stout as a deputy for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office at a pay rate of $20.05 per hour, effective June 18.

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