Forsyth County’s elections department is making strides this year to prepare for the 2018 mid-term election.
On Tuesday morning, members of the Forsyth County Board of Voter Registrations and Elections held the group’s monthly meeting at the Forsyth County administration building, where they heard updates on the department’s new building, future hearings and the preliminary 2018 budget.
Construction starting on new building
Members were updated on the latest of a new elections building being constructed next to the Forsyth County Tax Commissioner’s Office on Tribble Gap Road. Barbara Luth, supervisor of the department, said crews have begun preliminary work on the project.
“They’ve been breaking some ground and tearing down trees,” Luth said.
The department currently operates out of an office at the Forsyth County administration building and a warehouse off Piney Grove Road, which has voter registration cards and equipment. The new building will take over for both and be used for some advance voting.
Forsyth County commissioners approved the building earlier this year, and construction will be handled for $3.1 million by CBI General Contractors.
Luth said groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies will likely be held.
Hearings set for inaccurate records
The department is moving ahead with hearings for registered voters whose information appears to be inaccurate in the department’s records.
Using information from the county’s tax assessor and geographic information systems departments, workers were able to drastically reduce the number of hearings.
“We started out with a little more than 300 dispatches,” said Mandi Smith, of the department. “We’re down to 71.”
Those still on the list will receive a letter describing the county’s issue with their registration. For those with multiple addresses, letters will be sent to each.
At a previous meeting, officials said hearings have not been held since 2015.
The hearings will likely be held in June.
First draft of 2018 budget presented
Luth also updated the board on the first draft of the department’s 2018 budget. As presented, the preliminary budget totals $1.3 million, with $1,157,800 reserved for salaries.
Some of the other large expenditures are: legal fees for $20,000; printing for $36,700; office supplies for $36,300; and travel for $19,000.
Luth said some figures will change during the budget process.
Forsyth County has already begun preparing its countywide 2018 budget.
In February, meetings were held with county departments and offices to begin working on their budgets. In May, the county manager will meet with the departments to discuss them, and the county finance committee will meet with elected officials the following week.
The committee will hold its next meeting on April 19, and the preliminary budget will be presented to county commissioners on June 20. The final budget will be adopted on Nov. 17.