Benton County shuttering auditor’s office at Richland Fred Meyer

The Benton County Auditor’s annex at the Richland Fred Meyer will close by the end of the year.

The county commission will sign off on the cost-saving move as part of its routine consent agenda at its regular Tuesday morning session.

Auditor Brenda Chilton notes ballots may be returned by pre-paid postage. She is scouting for a new location for the ballot drop box as well.

The move comes four years after the state Department of Licensing opened an office in Richland to alleviate demand at the auditor’s office.

The county’s lease for the space near Fred Meyer expires at the end of the year.

Staff and operations will be relocated into a new county administration building planned for Okanogan Street in Kennewick.

No layoffs are planned, but the auditor’s office will re-evaluate staffing levels in light of the 2020 presidential election and shifting duties.