By RON CRAIG
Seneca County commissioners agreed Tuesday they would sell 81 Jefferson St. in Tiffin with a stipulation the county would have six months following the sale to move records being stored there.
The commissioners want to rid the county of the three-story downtown building that has sat empty for several years, but there are numerous county records being stored there. Those records are deteriorating in the damp conditions of the structure, and the commissioners have been struggling with what will become of them if they sell the property.
Some of the records are to be converted to digital media before the paper versions are destroyed, and those that may have historical value will need to be turned over to another entity for its use after the digital conversion.
“We need to come up with a timeline,” Commission President Mike Kerschner said of the issue. “We need to give ourselves six months after the sale to get everything out.”
Kerschner said the county has been offering tours of both the 81 Jefferson St. property and the former Carnegie Library Building, where the probate and juvenile courts currently reside.
The courts will be moving to the county’s annex building next year, after the common pleas court moves into the new justice center when its construction is completed.
“It’s still up in the air,” Kerschner said of the future of the former library building, noting it may have some historical value.
The commission president also noted a building now occupied by the Soil and Water Conservation District, dubbed the ag building, is also in serious need of repair.
Commissioner Holly Stacy, who agreed with Kerschner on the timeline for the Jefferson Street property, suggested the county investigate the possibility of a joint public-private venture on a new or different building for the Soil and Water Conservation District.
During a discussion of the timing of an organizational meeting in January, where decisions will be made on who will fill the board president and vice-president positions for 2018, it was noted Ohio law mandates the session be conducted on Jan. 8.
A discussion also continued on furniture the county’s board of elections is requesting. Kerschner reiterated his desire for the elections board to resubmit a revised budget that would include the furniture, but Thomas and Stacy said the commissioners should approve the purchases.
The cost of new tables, an island in the office, and a back counter is estimated at $11,000 to $12,000.
Commissioners also approved the purchase of a new oven for the county jail at a cost of $6,600, with an additional $900 for installation.
An update on the county museum was presented by Tonia Hoffert, director. Hoffert noted the museum has had visitors from 16 states and the District of Columbia, as well as those from other countries, over the past several months.
Nine volunteers have donated 1,650 hours during that same time period, Hoffert said.
An executive session was called to discuss the sale of county-owned property, but no action was taken following the session.