WILMINGTON — Space problems at several Clinton County government offices took a twist this week when the Board of Elections (BOE) suggested a different spot to store its voting equipment.
But by the end of their appointment with county commissioners, elections officials were being encouraged to revisit an idea considered last year but not pursued.
The Board of Elections opened the meeting saying the basement of the county prosecutor’s building — the one-time Wilmington Post Office — offers a more secure site for election machines than would the County Administration Building on East Sugartree Street (best known as the place the Bureau of Motor Vehicles is located).
The Admin Building has been the focus of recent discussions on where to keep the county’s voting equipment. Because security is such a crucial factor in the decision, elections officials began to look elsewhere for a storage solution.
However, commissioners on Wednesday immediately expressed concerns about the risk of the basement getting flooded and damaging the expensive voting equipment.
Clinton County Commissioner Brenda K. Woods said there is little doubt the basement will get flooded. That consideration alone — even if the flooring there is raised as suggested by elections officials — is a “huge concern” to her.
She also indicated she had recently gone to the prosecutor’s basement to look around prior to Wednesday’s discussion.
“It’s dirty. It’s dusty. It’s a basement,” said Woods.
Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed said the place mentioned last year as a potential site for Board of Elections’ offices and equipment storage “fits so many of the [board’s] needs” and on Wednesday he requested they reconsider it. The location is within the County Annex facility on South Nelson Avenue which houses, among other offices, the Health Department and OSU Extension.
Some office space at the Annex can be re-configured to suit the elections board, and elections staff also can have the first right of refusal on use of the large community room there — for example, when they need to train volunteers for Election Day, said Steed.
At one juncture Board of Elections member Joe D. Daugherty said given that the “commissioners are not willing to expand the footprint of county property,” as well as the significance of maintaining security of voting equipment, elections officials were “trying to make do” in suggesting the basement of the prosecutor’s building.
On Thursday, Steed said he is “cautiously hopeful” that elections officials will reconsider the County Annex facility on Nelson Avenue as a space option.
During a separate work session, commissioners discussed the City of Wilmington’s recent request for $100,000 from the Clinton County Solid Waste District (SWD) to help expand and upgrade the town’s curbside recycling service. Since that request, Wilmington City Council has approved paying a $125,000 local match to go along with an Ohio EPA award of $250,000 for the project.
Woods said her feelings on the City’s request are mixed. She said she favors improving the existing curbside recycling in Wilmington, but said there are villages that don’t have the service and if a village is interested in one, commissioners and the SWD need to possibly assist in a start-up.
Woods further said she has a problem with the City asking the County for funds late in the process.
Commissioner Patrick Haley related that the Village of Blanchester has expressed interest in curbside recycling. Additionally, there is a potential of a previously unforeseen large expense coming the county’s way, he said, and he would like to know how that plays out before making a commitment of funds on the City’s request.
Steed said commissioners can address the City’s request for funds “down the road.”
Retiring Wilmington Parks & Recreation Superintendent Lori Kersey Williams introduced commissioners to her successor Jermaine Isaac. During the meet-and-greet, Williams reported on the public response to the city’s new splash pad at J.W. Denver Williams Jr. Memorial Park.
In other matters:
• Commissioners decided not to take any official action in response to a request by Caring Citizens’ Congress of Wilmington to participate in the United Nations Global Compact and become a Caring Economy County.
• The west-facing main entrance to the county courthouse will be the test area in an effort to deter pigeons that regularly perch or settle above the entrance and leave droppings. A private company has been selected to tackle the problem.
• Johnson and Van Pelt Roads in Wayne Township, Clinton County, will be sealed for $17,780.
• Commissioners recognized the following youth as 2017 American Legion Buckeye Boys State representatives: Dylan Combs, Dakota Cravens, Brendan Crouse, Doug Eastes, Connor O’Boyle, Tristan Reiley, Alexander Totten and Zachary Wyrick.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.