Voter registration office moving down the street [Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.]
(Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 19--Early voters will go to a new spot to cast their ballots starting with 2014's elections, as Monroe County officials continue to get rid of rented office spaces.
Friday, the Monroe County Board of Commissioners approved two items related to the recently passed $2 million general obligation bond: upgrades to the Johnson Hardware Building for voter registration operations to move in and the information technologies infrastructure. The Johnson Hardware Building, at 405 W. Seventh St., is also home to community corrections.
The county is trying to move away from rented spaces, and once voter registration moves out of its Curry Building location at 214 W. Seventh St., departments in One City Centre at 120 W. Seventh St., which is rented space, can move into the county-owned Curry Building.
The move must be made soon to accommodate early voting for the May 6 primary.
"We have to move quickly because elections are coming," said Iris Kiesling, a county commissioner.
The board of commissioners requested a $2 million general obligation bond during the 2014 budget hearings for a variety of county needs, including building repairs, a new ambulance, technical infrastructure, a trail connection and other projects. The bond was approved at the council's October meeting.
Projects were prioritized for the bond with the voter registration move, the IT upgrades and repairs to the Showers Building being the most pressing. The Showers Building foundation has some leaks, and work has begun on a contract to repair those, said Angie Chalfant, commissioners' administrator.
"These three were our top priority because so many things kind of hinge on these," Chalfant said.
Voter registration has specific space requirements to allow room for early voting and storage of equipment, as well as accessibility. The building will need larger doors and a hallway in order to comply with the Help America Vote Act. The act requires that voters with disabilities get the same opportunities and assistance, if needed, to allow them to vote as all other citizens. A grant may be available to help with some of the repairs.
The Johnson Hardware space is more accessible than other locations considered, including the county's portion of the Showers Building, which election board members said would require even more work for accessibility.
At a Monroe County Redevelopment Commission meeting, Monroe County Council president Geoff McKim proposed that some of the projects -- including an additional tornado warning siren, an ambulance and part of the Karst Farm Greenway -- be paid for by the redevelopment commission instead of using the bond, since the projects would fall partially in the county's Westside TIF. Projects will be brought before the commission at a later date.
If some of the projects could be completed using TIF money, it would free up dollars in the bond for any unforeseen issues.
"That will help to complete projects correctly and efficiently," Chalfant said.
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