CLARION - The 2020 primary election was one of the most expensive in Clarion County's history as Clarion County Commissioner Ed Heasley said last week the cost of the June 2 primary was $77,000.
Heasley said the election usually costs between $45,000 to $50,000.
The cost includes paper costs, additional time for county employees and the cost of the poll workers.
Heasley said the state will reimburse the county $17,000 but there was still a net cost of $60,000 to the county.
Heasley said a large portion of the extra cost was due to the new mail-in ballots. For the first time Pennsylvania voters could opt to vote by mail instead of voting at the polls.
This year's primary was also the first use of the new voting system in Clarion County. Mandated by the state, the county used a paper ballot, which required new systems at the precinct and tabulation machines at the county's administration building where the votes were counted.
To avoid any possibility of a voter casting a ballot twice, extra county labor was used to verify each vote.
The intent of the mail-in voting was to increase voter turn-out.
That worked in Clarion County. Heasley said the total voter turn-out was 45 percent.
The breakdown for the Democratic Party showed that on the primary election day there were 1,350 votes cast. That meant that only 19.3 percent of the registered voters cast a ballot.
However that changed drastically when the 284 absentee ballots, 11 provisional ballots and 1,208 mail-in ballots were added.
That nearly doubled the percentage of voter turn-out to 40.95 percent.
The totals also changed for the Republicans. On Election Day the results showed that 35.9 percent (4,893 voters) of the Republicans actually voted.
With the addition of 1,263 mail-in votes, 242 absentee ballots and 71 provisional votes, the percentage rose to 47.45 (6,466 votes) of the eligible Republican voters actually cast a ballot.
Surplus equipment sale set for July
The county will proceed with a sale of used county equipment in July.
The county has 15 used vehicles and three used coolers to be sold. The coolers were left behind when the county purchased the former Holabaugh beer distributor building along River Hill in Paint Township.
The vehicles range from a 1996 Chevy 1500 with a snow plow to a 2013 Ford Challenger (a mini-bus).
Included in the sale are two cars used by the Clarion County Sheriff's Department. Two of the vehicles are not running.
The Holabaugh building along U.S. Route 322 is also the site of the auction.
Commissioner Ted Tharan said the county would receive sealed bids on the vehicles. The bids will be opened on July 28.
The vehicles, located at the Holabaugh site, can be examined from 9 to 11 a.m. July 11.
Tharan said a few "other items" might be included in the sale.
Tax payment deadline reminder
The Clarion County Board of Commissioners recently reminded county taxpayers of the changes that were made this year on extensions of time periods to pay property taxes.
Through Clarion County Resolution 6 of 2020, the county property tax face value period was extended until Oct. 31, 2020, meaning the penalty period would take effect Nov. 1, 2020 Dec. 31, 2020.
Many local municipalities also extended their property tax face value period until Oct. 31, 2020, except for five.
Madison Township, Porter Township, Redbank Township, St. Petersburg Borough, and Toby Township did not extend their property tax face value period, and their face value period will end on June 30, 2020, with the penalty period beginning on July 1, 2020.
Although the property tax face value extensions are in effect for the relevant municipalities, the per capita tax did not get extended, and the face value will increase on July 1, 2020 to penalty stage.