A purchase approval could make one county office’s job a little easier. 

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners discussed the purchase of a new PitneyBowes digital mailing system for the county at its Monday morning study session. The county’s contract for mail system services through PitneyBowes expires soon, necessitating an upgrade, Debbie Hough, Franklin County treasurer, told the commission. The new machine would allow Hough’s office to process mail faster, she said. 

“Right now, information is going over an analog telephone line and with the new [machine] everything will be PC-based so that will make it more up to date,” Hough said. The online system allows for easier postage payments and downloading. 

The majority of Franklin County government’s mail goes through the treasurer’s office, Hough said. Between 3,000 and 3,500 pieces of mail — from bills and ballots to invoices and mass mailings — are processed there. A five-year lease of the machine is expected to cost $710 a month, which includes the machine and service.

This machine would have additional printing capabilities including color headlines and graphics on the outside of envelopes. 

The last time a mail machine was purchased was in 2008, Lisa Johnson, county administrator and counselor, told the commission. That PitneyBowes machine replaced a foreign-made machine that was not suitable to the county’s needs, she added. The new PitneyBowes machine would be American-made, Hough said, which is a plus. 

“There are other mail machine companies out there,” Hough said. “We tried the cheaper one and it was a total disaster. It was becoming very time consuming. Once we changed back to PitneyBowes, we had more of the ease and quickness that we need.” 

If the board approves the purchase order, Hough said, she expects a transition to the new machine to be fairly seamless for herself and her staff. The board is expected to vote on the purchase of the mail system at its 8:30 a.m. Wednesday meeting in commission chambers, 1428 S. Main St., Ottawa. If its purchase is approved, the machine could be delivered in about seven to 10 business days.