Belmont County Board Of Elections Making Its Move
After months of planning and preparation, the consolidation of county offices in buildings formerly owned by The Health Plan began with the Belmont County Board of Elections being the first agency to move in this past week.
County Commissioner Josh Meyer said the elections office started moving Tuesday and completed the process by the end of the week. He added that he expects the title office and clerk of courts office to begin moving into the same site soon with their moves to be complete by the middle of July.
Elections Director Kelly McCabe was at the site, located along on U.S. 40 east of St. Clairsville, on Wednesday while staff members transported equipment from the long-time Plaza West headquarters to the new location.
“It’s going to be good for us,” she said, citing the spacious area, expansive lobby and public restroom that will be available.
The move will be complete when the phone system is set up, McCabe said.
“We don’t have phones yet. We’re working on that today. As soon as we get phones here, then everyone else will be moving down here.”
The move has been a topic of discussion during several board of elections meetings.
“We just have to get used to it,” she said. “It’s a different place.”
McCabe said the board plans to be prepared for the Nov. 4 general election.
She added that a screen will be set up in the lobby to allow the public to view election results as they are tallied.
In 2017 the county bought The Health Plan’s two former buildings for $3.3 million. The health insurance provider had built and moved into a new headquarters in downtown Wheeling. The upper building on the St. Clairsville campus contains 28,000 square feet of space, while the lower structure — which will house the board of elections, title office and clerk of courts’ office — is 15,000 square feet.
The upper building will hold the Western, Northern and Eastern Division county courts and the prosecutor’s office, and plans for that move are still underway. The relocation of these offices to the lower building has been the priority for county officials, since they say it is simpler, less demanding of security and because the board of elections site at Plaza West and the title office are rented. Meyer said the move would mean a yearly savings of $75,000 in rent for the elections board. The combined elections board and title office pay about $100,000 in rent.
The commissioners declined to speculate on when the county will be ready to consolidate the courts.
“We’re still finalizing plans, tweaking some things,” Meyer said.