MEDINA — County officials have identified another building that needs attention, and they said it is another indicator that a sales tax increase is needed.
Medina County commissioners heard a presentation last week about $2.8 million worth of water damage and leakage at the Medina County Job and Family Services offices at 232 Northland Drive, Medina.
Representatives from studioTECHNE architects and Envelope Consulting Services, both based in Cleveland, told commissioners the building was “not (constructed) with the best practices.”
With 50 percent of the assessment completed, crews confirmed water issues stemmed from aging windows and the surrounding structure on the exterior. They said the estimated cost would include replacing all the windows and the brick masonry on the exterior.
Photos of disassembled windows showed a deteriorated wood frame and others that had black spots indicating that water was coming through.
County Administrator Scott Miller said the 44,000-square-foot building has seen problems since it was constructed in 1999 by the state.
“We’ve been applying Band-Aids and did what we could afford at the point,” Miller said. “We’re at the point now where Band-Aids aren’t going to work.”
Jeff Felton, director of Medina County Job and Family Services, said the affected areas are primarily on the south end of the building, especially when heavy rain comes from that direction.
Some of the office spaces have buckets and trays to catch dripping water.
“In terms of cost and what we can afford, we first need to take care of the primary needs,” he said. “I wouldn’t recommend replacing windows that aren’t leaking.”
The architects also expressed concerns about a landfill beneath the building that would require more investigation. Representatives said they believe the landfill may have settled, which is causing some floors in the building to sink and become uneven.
They showed one photograph of an uneven floor in a stairwell on the west side of the building that has sunk about 3 to 4 inches below the structure. Felton said the damage also could have been caused by a drainage problem that occurred in the past.
He said that portion of the building is not used often.
“The affected areas that are not utilized present no danger to our staff and clients,” Felton said. “It’s less of a need.”
No problems have been seen that would “induce panic to employees” or “deem the building unsafe.” However, that doesn’t mean the problems don’t need to be addressed, he said.
Commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday to place a 0.25 percent sales tax increase on the Nov. 7 ballot. The increase would generate about $6 million annually and bring the county’s sales tax to 7 percent, Miller said.
It would be the county’s first sales tax increase request since 1971 for the general fund. Funds would be used toward county agencies and building maintenance.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.