WILMINGTON — The Board of Elections (BOE) may move its entire operation — offices plus the storage of voting equipment — to the County Annex facility on South Nelson Avenue on the west end of town.
BOE Chairperson Steve E. Fricke told Clinton County commissioners Monday the daily staffers say they’ll make the Annex site work. The board of elections gave commissioners a list of eight conditions it wants met if the move is to be made, with most conditions considered feasible by commissioners.
The two conditions that need to be worked through, said Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed, is one that asks that the BOE handle the scheduling year-round for the use of the Annex’s community room and manage the keys to the room, while the other condition is that the necessary remodeling be completed prior to re-location.
Steed said the latter condition is hard to promise because there are “lots of moving parts with this” and other county departments will be affected by a BOE relocation.
Clinton County Commissioner Brenda K. Woods said her largest issue probably revolves around the use of the community room and the BOE wanting to schedule that.
Some county agencies at the Annex were placed in that building so they could utilize the good-size community room, said Woods. She wants the room to continue being utilized by those departments located in the Annex.
Regarding the BOE’s wish to have the authority to schedule when agencies or organizations can use the Annex’s community room, Fricke said the board has no intention of not allowing agencies to use the room when the BOE does not need it.
The BOE chairman noted there are other community rooms that agencies could use, including a large room in Expo Hall on the county fairgrounds near the Annex facility.
If the BOE does move to the Annex, then it will become the new location for in-person early voting, rather than at the county courthouse.
During the appointment with commissioners, Board of Elections member Ann Reno said, “I’m not happy. I don’t think the public will like it at all. It’s so far out there, and it’s just not a safe place at night.”
Steed indicated outside lighting is an improvement the county can carry out.
The president of the commissioners added he thinks the Annex is the best available solution for all parties involved, citing the voting public, the BOE, and an efficient use of the county’s existing office space.
Clinton County Commissioner Patrick Haley said commissioners are very limited in what they can do in terms of a new place for the board of elections, which needs both office space and a secure storage area for elections equipment.
BOE Deputy Director Jay Peterson said the board’s recent session to discuss the space situation was the longest board meeting in his tenure.
In other business:
• A letter will be sent to Clinton County Community Action Program Board of Directors President Randy Riley regarding the RFP (Request for Proposal) and RFQ (Request for Quote) process when an entity seeks to contract with the county to administer levy funds for senior services.
The Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio currently administers the Clinton County Elderly Services Program through a contract with the Clinton County commissioners. The elderly services program receives nearly 90 percent of its funding from a 1.5-mills senior services tax levy.
• Commissioners recognized two retirees: Dawn Yeakley with Clinton County Job & Family Services for 27-plus years of service; and Dori Bishop with the Clinton County Solid Waste Management District with 7-plus years service.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.
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