Wyandot voters to decide on county courthouse, local issues

UPPER SANDUSKY – A six-year, 1-mill levy is on the Nov. 5 ballot in Wyandot County, which would allow the county commissioners to issue $2,250,000 in bonds to restore and maintain the dome and roof of the courthouse.

The tax levy would cost landowners about $35 per year on property with a valuation of $100,000.

The levy would be a limited, one-time levy with no renewals.

“As Wyandot County commissioners, we have been entrusted with the stewardship of your courthouse,” said a news release from the Wyandot County Courthouse Restoration Committee. “It is not the commissioners’ courthouse; it is the people’s courthouse.”

Commissioners unanimously agreed to proceed with restoration plans.

“After 113 years, both time and water have taken their toll on the courthouse dome and roof, and the commissioners believe that substantial structural repairs are needed in order to maintain the integrity of the building,” the news release said.

The 38-room courthouse was built between 1897 and 1900 at a cost of $199,740, which included the furniture inside, still in use today.

Among the artwork and history contained in the courthouse are paintings on the walls in the common pleas courtroom. The oil on canvas classics were painted by C. Holloway in 1900, and each depicts a historical theme from the early 1700s to the mid-1800s, including a scene with Col. William Crawford being burned at the stake. Atop the courthouse is Astraia, Greek goddess of justice.

In a news release from the committee written by former Commissioner Jim Gilliland, he said records in the commissioners’ office show $1.84 million was invested in repairs and improvements to the courthouse from 1990 to 2009.

Another $1.27 million was invested in the central air conditioning along with a new heating and cooling system and electrical system. In 2009, the north roof was repaired and Lady Justice was refurbished.

Gilliland said alternatives are more costly and less permanent, including a new building, removal of the upper portion above the stone walls, or doing nothing and permitting deterioration to continue.

“The property owners, as taxpayers, have invested a lot of dollars in recent years to maintain and improve our present structure,” he said. “Let us invest in our courthouse in all its glory, by returning the exterior surfaces to their functional integrity.”

Other area issues on the ballot in Wyandot County are:

A proposed 5-year, 0.7-mill tax renewal for the Wyandot County Board of Health to provide funds to continue health programs. The tax would remain at 7 cents for each $100 of valuation, and would continue providing funds when the current levy ends, starting in 2015.

A proposed 5-year, 0.8-mill tax renewal for the Wyandot Office on Aging to provide an maintain senior citizen services and facilities. The tax would remain at 8 cents on each $100 of valuation.

A 5-year, 2-mill renewal tax levy in the village of Sycamore to provide and maintain fire equipment, buildings and site. The tax would remain 20 cents for each $100 of valuation.

A 5-year, 1-mill renewal tax levy in Sycamore Township for fire protection, ambulance equipment and emergency medical services. The tax would remain at 10 cents for each $100 of valuation.

A proposed 5-year, 2-mill replacement tax levy in Tymochtee Township for fire protection, ambulance service and emergency medical services. Funds would be used for equipment and facilities maintenance, and other emergency needs. The cost would be 20 cents for each $100 of valuation.