By JIM MAURER

STAFF WRITER

The Hancock County commissioners on Thursday approved borrowing $2.75 million to provide additional funds for the county building construction project and to purchase a trash compactor for the county landfill.

A majority of the borrowing — $2 million — will be for the sale of notes, with the plan to issue bonds, for the new county building to house probate/juvenile court and the domestic relations court. The commissioners previously approved the sale of $5.8 million in notes, with plans to issue bonds, for the project.

Construction costs for the 27,000-square-foot building, which will be built adjacent to the county courthouse, will not exceed $9 million, said Commissioner President Tim Bechtol. The county has been setting $100,000 aside monthly this year to cover the remainder of the cost.

The new court building will take about a year to construct. Design is being done by Garmann/Miller Architects, Minster.

Bechtol and Commissioner Brian Robertson voted for the building funding, while Commissioner Mark Gazarek has voted against it, saying the spending is too much and not what was promised the public previously when the commissioners proposed $4-$5 million to renovate the existing probate/juvenile court building.

As plans developed, the cost to renovate the existing building, built in 1865, continued to rise, and the commissioners decided to look at new construction. The existing building will be demolished to provide space for the new building.

The commissioners also are planning for county jail construction or expansion to provide about 125 additional beds and inmate assistance programs. It will be another multi-million dollar expense.

The expansion is needed to alleviate overcrowded conditions and a backlog of misdemeanor offenders waiting to serve jail time. The county sheriff’s office employees transport prisoners to various other county jails, and the county pays for transportation, employee time and daily housing of prisoners.

The remainder of the borrowing approved Thursday will cover the trash compactor purchase. Landfill-designated funds will cover the cost to replace the existing equipment.

State 1st District Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon, and state 83rd District Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, will meet with the county commissioners at 1 p.m. today in the first-floor hearing room at the commissioners’ office to discuss possible funding assistance from the state capital budget for building plans in the county.

The funding request is separate from a previously promised $15 million in state money for the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District to assist with flood-reduction efforts along Eagle Creek. The conservancy district is overseeing those plans.

Maurer: 419-427-8420

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