June 27, 2016

Mostly sunny

County Board of Elections seeks smaller slice of Stonegate Drive

MEDINA TWP. — The Medina County Board of Elections still wants to move to a shopping plaza on Stonegate Drive.

Board members want the site so much that they are willing to rent a smaller portion of the building to meet the demands of the Medina County commissioners for a less costly site.

Medina County Board of Elections Chairman Donald Baker, left, talks about an amended plan Tuesday morning to relocate the board's office to 3800 Stonegate Drive in Medina Township. Also pictured are board members Bill Heck and Teresa Cotman and Marilyn Jacobcik, Ohio Secretary of State liaison to the board. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER)

Last month, the commissioners, who must approve the move, rejected the plan to relocate the board from its quarters in the county Health Department building, 4210 N. Jefferson St., about a half mile north to 3800 Stonegate Drive. Both buildings are in Medina Township.

Members of the elections board then went back to the drawing board and were able to reduce the amount of rented space from 13,795 square feet to 10,263 to save money.

“I think I have a buy-in at 10,000 square feet with the commissioners,” elections board member Bill Heck said Tuesday during the board’s regular meeting. “Our search in general is over. We need to make this work.”

The commissioners had suggested looking at buildings that have between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet.

The elections board’s offices in the county Health Department building occupy 4,446 square feet, Heck said. The building also includes 2,577 square feet of storage and other space.

Annual cost to rent the space is $76,411.

Heck said renting the 10,263 square feet at Stonegate Drive would cost $99,141 annually for the first five years of a 10-year lease. The yearly rate would rise to $104,067 for years six through 10 due to general price escalation and building maintenance, he said.

The elections board agreed Tuesday to submit a proposal to county commissioners for annual rent of a new facility to not immediately exceed $100,000.
If the revised proposal is rejected, elections board members will ask commissioners to submit a relocation proposal for consideration.

Under the proposal rejected by commissioners Dec. 31, Chris Jakab, county administrator, estimated an annual price tag of $204,944 for the Stonegate facility, which included costs for office space, utilities and maintenance.

Heck disputed Jakab’s estimates, saying the annual cost of the Stonegate building, including utilities and cleaning, would have been $156,906.

The board believes more space is needed for conducting early voting, housing the elections office’s eight full-time staff, an unspecified number of part-time election workers and volunteers, and storage of 732 voting machines and thousands of paper ballots.

Limited parking space at the board’s office also was cited as a reason to move.

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