Early in-office absentee voting for the May 7 special election began Tuesday and will continue until the day before the election.
Until April 26, early voting at the Fayette County Board of Elections, 135 S. Main St. in Washington C.H., will be available Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. From April 29 until May 3, early voting will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, according to Board of Elections officials.
The final days of absentee voting will be Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 5 from 1-5 p.m., and early voting hours close Monday, May 6 at 2 p.m.
The one issue on the Tuesday, May 7 local special election ballot will be the county-wide tax levy for a new county jail.
The Fayette County Commissioners passed a resolution declaring the necessity of an additional tax levy in excess of the 10-mill limitation imposed by state law. The 1.9-mill levy that will appear on the May ballot is broken into two pieces — the first covers the amount which will be required to pay the interest on and retire the bonds at 1.05 mills (or $0.105 per $100 of tax valuation) with the current tax valuation of the county at $866,635,240. The second piece of the levy is .85 mills for a continuing period of time for the purpose of securing the funds to pay for operating expenses associated with the jail and other criminal justice services for which the commissioners may make an appropriation under the ORC.
In order to be able to ask for assistance from the community, the commissioners have spent the last several months completing a series of studies, including an environmental study and a needs assessment — just to name two — to determine the exact size, location and safety of the new jail.
Shremshock Architects, Inc. — based in New Albany — was selected in 2017 to perform a feasibility study prior to designing plans for the new jail. Shremshock architects have designed hundreds of detention facilities nationally and internationally with area projects, including the Franklin County Detention Center in Columbus and the Madison Correctional Institution in London.
After completing these studies, it was determined by the Shremshock needs assessment that the size of the current jail — which has capacity for 24 — will be multiplied by five times to a capacity of 120 inmates to help cover the needs of the county over the next 30 years. Additionally, the new jail would be outfitted with the full body scanner that is at the current jail and will also include specialized care facilities for mental health and drug rehabilitation.
For those with questions concerning the election, contact the local board of elections at 740-335-1190 or its website, https://fayette.ohioboe.com.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica