Miami County considers move of elections’ office

TROY — The Miami County Board of Elections likely will be saying good-bye to the historic county Courthouse and moving to a new home in the Hobart Center for County Government nearby.

The exact location of the new elections’ office and when a move would take place have not been determined. The timeline would depend in part on which space the board of elections selects in the Hobart Center.

Before any decisions are made, the elections board said it wanted to review the floor plan of the center and compare space to its current home in the county Courthouse a couple of blocks away in Troy.

The elections board along with election administrators Laura Bruns and Ian Ridgeway toured the Hobart Center with the county commissioners Jan. 26 before discussing space at the election board’s meeting.

The elections operations expanded beyond its traditional offices on the north side of the first floor of the Courthouse last year to accommodate a larger number of early voters than in the past, particularly in the fall presidential election.

The elections office used other space on the first floor previously occupied by the Ohio State University Extension staff, which moved last year to the Hobart Center.

The elections board over the years has discussed the need for more space and for a more accessible and secure location. The commissioners said options could include the Hobart Center or a new One Stop Shop the county plans to build off Ohio 55 in Troy the next couple of years.

Commissioner Ted Mercer said he would like to see the historic building’s first floor used for business instead of the current use of part of the space to store election equipment. Mercer suggested the county hire someone to look at available space and the cost of preparing it for the elections’ office use.

The commissioners asked for the relocation of stored election equipment to the election office’s current space in the next few months. The commissioners would like to move the county Human Resource’s Department from the Safety Building’s basement to that space, Commission President Greg Simmons

Elections Director Laura Bruns said she likes the office current location in the Courthouse in part because of its proximity to the county Safety Building, where election staff routinely does business. A home in the Hobart Center, though, “could work very nicely” and still be close to the Safety Building, she said.

Elections Board Chairman Dave Fisher said another advantage of the Hobart Center is its generator in case of power outages. It also has space in the basement for storage of election equipment.

The Hobart Center would allow the elections office to meet many of the Secretary of State’s requirements including those for accessibility, said elections board member Jim Oda. “That is something we simply could not do here (Courthouse),” he said.

The move’s timing would depend on which space the elections board chooses because of current uses of the Hobart Center space. The first-floor space being considered now is home to the county Planning and Development Office. The commissioners hope to move that operation to the new One Stop Shop. Space on the second floor would be available sooner.

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