Week of April 21, 2019

Over a year ago I wrote about the fact Washington County required Birchwood to have a land line to transmit election data for our primary and election day results.  The County informed us we had no choice.  So for many years, that phone line has been sitting unused in our office every day of the year except those few minutes at election time.  The line costs about $50 a month.
This waste bugged me and I again reached out to the county a few months ago and asked if the city could transmit the data via Mahtomedi's or Willernie's phone line after the election.  The official said that would not work because those cities would be using the line as well.  That seemed to be a rather weak answer, so I then suggested the data could be hand-delivered to the county for those two dates.  The clerk did not think that was viable either because of the "unreasonable delay" in receiving the results.  However, upon further research it turns out other communities including Marine on the St Croix have been doing just that for some time.
Interestingly, Ramsey County accepts encrypted internet data from its municipalities and has been for years.  The City has had the same ability, but Washington County officials told us their system was not updated to that level, nor would it be for at least a few more years.
While the City was prepared to start hand-delivering election results to the County, it turns out that our tech advisor (that also provides tech services to Ramsey communities) was able to show Washington County that the encrypted data was transmittable as they intended.
We have now terminated our contract for the phone land line.
Persistence does pay....it's just too bad we did not reach a mutual resolution some time ago.