WILMINGTON — The space problem of one Clinton County department seems to be a step closer to a solution after members of the Board of Elections expressed a clear preference for one of two off-site options to store voting equipment.
Clinton County commissioners, after ranking possible storage alternatives based on each commissioner rating the sites on a scale, presented the board and its two chief office staffers suggested spaces within two places: the County Administration Building on East Sugartree Street best known as the place the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is located, and the County Annex facility on South Nelson Avenue which is where the Health Department and 4-H are housed.
Though one of the four elections board members was absent, the three who were present Wednesday each named the County Administration Building their pick.
If board members stick with their original preference after doing a walk-through of the building, the retrofitting plans there presently include combining eight offices into one cluster for storage — which would involve removing interior walls to unify the area.
The current concept would yield about 1,200 square feet of storage space, said Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed.
The county’s Solid Waste & Recycling staff, along with Human Resources and the county administrator would need to move.
Clinton County Board of Elections Director Shane Breckel said it’s crucial there will be a sure-fire system to track anyone who goes into the space where the voting machines will be kept in case there ever is a question concerning possible equipment tampering.
“You can keep manual logs, but manual logs aren’t really worth much,” said Breckel.
Steed said the remodeling project would deal with the need for secure safekeeping of the equipment. He mentioned possible electronic access via a swipe card.
Board member Joe D. Daugherty said it would be nice “to segregate the BMV and Board of Elections” since “they probably don’t want us in their space, and we don’t want them in our space because of security of their stuff and our stuff.”
Board member Ann Reno said the Administration Building would be much better than the Annex Building “because it’s together; the Annex is so broken up it’s not workable.”
Board Chairperson Steve E. Fricke said simply that he likes the Administration Building option.
The discussion Wednesday appears to exclude a possibility that was considered earlier this year — that the main room of the county law library in the courthouse be used as a storage room for the equipment.
Storing the elections equipment off Courthouse Square will potentially open up the law library for other uses such as office space, Steed said Wednesday.
In addition to the Board of Elections, the Community Supervision Program of the Clinton County Adult Probation Department as well as the Clinton County Auditor’s Office are seeking more space.
Also at the commissioners office:
• Commissioners approved a permit for a meeting or rally on county-owned public property. The event will be a Pride March in support of the LGBTQIA Community in Clinton County. The acronym LGBTQIA stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual people.
The gathering is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11 on the Clinton County Courthouse steps and sidewalks.
• Steed announced he will be the second elected official to take a dive into the Sabina Municipal Pool later this month as part of a fund-raiser for the public pool.
Blanchester Mayor John Carman recently told Steed he would contribute $100 if Steed, like Sabina Mayor Dean Hawk, did a cannonball jump to start the summer swim season 6 p.m. Friday, May 26. Carman thought it only fitting, Steed said, seeing how it was Steed’s donation offer that led to Hawk’s cannonball promise.
While Hawk hopes to wear an old-style bathing suit, Steed said he will sport a men’s three-piece suit, dress pants and all.
And though the county commissioner’s deal with the mayor of Blanchester was expressly for a cannonball-style jump, Steed said Thursday “it will probably look more like a belly flop.”
The Sabina pool is located on South Jackson Street in the village.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.