By JIM MAURER
County election officials and the Hancock County commissioners discussed where to store the county’s new voting machines at the commissioners meeting Tuesday.
The 290 voting machines, first used in last November’s election, take up too much space to be housed in the elections board office; so they currently are being stored in a 6,000 square-foot building on Ohio 12 on the east side of Findlay. That lease expires March 31.
The elections board is requesting the lease be extended with the county paying $2,884 per month for the remainder of the year. Election officials said the board would make budget adjustments for 2021 and then take over the expense in odd years, with the county commissioners covering the expense in even years.
Commissioner Mark Gazarek said the commissioners have to look at the needs of all departments. If the commissioners approve additional funds for the elections board, he said, other departments, previously denied requests for more money, may follow suit and again seek those funds.
The commissioners are also concerned that with the economy in a downturn due to coronavirus concerns, sales tax revenue is expected to be down during the year.
The commissioners did not take a vote on the request Tuesday.
Commissioner Brian Robertson said he will contact the property owner about extending the lease, and the commissioners will discuss it again at Thursday morning’s meeting when all three commissioners are expected to be present. A decision is anticipated Thursday due to the contract ending date next week.
Separately, Tim Stuart, county information technology manager, and Sheriff Mike Heldman met with commissioners to present an update on the security camera project for county buildings. Additional cameras and equipment will be necessary to cover all the areas, they said.
The additional cost will be about $31,935 putting the total cost of the cameras at $316,935.
In January the commissioners approved resolutions to provide security cameras, hardware, fixtures and equipment for Hancock County Justice Center, the courthouse and the title office building on Hancock County 140. Centracomm, Findlay, will provide the hardware to upgrade the cameras, while Vaughn Industries, Carey, will provide the cameras, fixtures, equipment and installation.
Separately, the commissioners were told the county’s building maintenance staff will rotate weekly work schedules and the county sanitary landfill staff will rotate its shifts weekly. The action will allow at least some employees to cover the workload if some workers get the virus and pass it onto others in their shift.
Also, gates will be opened at the landfill through April 4, unless otherwise notified, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Saturday. All trash haulers will be notified of the temporary change in hours.