(Posted March 29, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is adding a new layer of security at the county courthouse in London.
Starting in late April, a deputy will be assigned full-time at the courthouse, Monday through Friday during regular hours of operation.
“There’s been increasing concern over the years for safety at the courthouse and for the staff,” said Sheriff Jim Sabin. “Unlike many other courthouses in Ohio, we maintain an open-door policy.” Citizens are free to come and go at all entrances without being stopped or scanned.
The open-door policy will remain in place. The difference will be that a deputy will be on site at all times.
“I believe it’s an important step we’re taking to ensure the safety of individuals (who work) in the courthouse and the public,” Sabin said. “Visibility is a great deterrent. There are a lot of activities in a courthouse that do raise tensions.”
The cost to add the deputy is $65,000 per year in salary, benefits, uniform, and equipment expenses. The county treasurer’s office will offset part of the cost with money from the delinquent taxes fund. The county commissioners will cover the rest.
It’s been nearly 10 years since a deputy was assigned to the courthouse. When the last person who served in the position retired, the county did not replace him due to the economic downturn at the time.
Sabin said that in addition to providing security, the new deputy can help direct individuals to the various offices in the courthouse.
The commissioners approved their portion of the funding on March 27.
Also that day, they approved an increase in conveyance fees following a second public hearing at which no one raised opposition. Conveyance fees are charged to anyone purchasing property in the county. Effective May 1, the fee will go from $2 per $1,000 of the property sale price to $3 per $1,000.
Mount Sterling is replacing street signs. Quotes were opened March 27 at the commissioners’ office. Kleem Inc. of West Chester, Ohio, bid $14,741 to do the work. M.D. Solutions of Plain City bid $8,515. The estimate was $15,750. The county engineer will review the quotes and make a recommendation to the commissioners. Community Development Block Grant funds will be used to pay for the project. Any leftover grant money will go toward park improvements in the village.