September 21, 2014

Medina
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Proposed relocation of elections board seems headed to defeat

MEDINA — All signs are pointing toward Medina County commissioners rejecting a proposed relocation of the county Board of Elections to 3600 Stonegate Drive in Medina Township.

The proposed move to Stonegate Drive from the election board’s location at the Health Department building, 4210 N. Jefferson St., appears unlikely as all three county commissioners voiced concern about the notion, based on size and cost.

“I’d like to reject,” Commissioners Pat Geissman said Monday. “We need to determine how much room we exactly need.”

Commissioners Adam Friedrick agreed.

“I think we need to explore other options,” he said.

Commissioner Steve Hambley was absent from Monday’s regular meeting and is on vacation for two weeks. He said Monday via cell phone he does not favor the proposed relocation to Stonegate Drive.

“I think we’re unanimous that this is not a good deal. We need to look at some other sites,” Hambley said.

At Monday’s meeting, Geissman and Friedrick told Administrator Chris Jakab to put the issue on the county agenda Dec. 31 for a vote. Relocating the elections board office was pitched to commissioners Dec. 10, and they have until Jan. 9 to grant or deny the move.

Jakab has estimated an annual price tag of $204,944 for the Stonegate facility, which is nearly three times more than what the county now pays — about $70,000 — for office space, utilities and maintenance in the current location.

Bill Heck, an elections board member, has disputed Jakab’s estimates, saying the annual cost of the Stonegate building, including utilities and cleaning, would be $156,906.

The Stonegate Drive building is at the north end of the Pearl road shopping plaza that includes Hobby Lobby and Kohl’s. It is 13,795 square feet, while the North Jefferson space is 4,446 square feet.

Commissioners have suggested looking at buildings that have between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet.

Heck has said more space is needed for the election office’s eight full-time staff, an unspecified number of part-time election workers and volunteers, and 702 voting machines.

Limited parking space at the board’s office also is a reason to move, he noted.

Contact reporter Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.