MAHONING COUNTY Commissioners OK work on buildings

One commissioner said the improvements are at least five years overdue.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County commissioners want to put a new roof on the county courthouse and the neighboring administration building.
They voted Tuesday to seek bids for those projects and several other improvements.
"Our buildings need upgraded," Commissioner David Ludt said. "These are things that should have been done five years ago."
Besides new roofs on the two downtown buildings, bids also will be sought for elevator improvement in the courthouse, administration building and South Side Annex; roof maintenance for all county buildings; and pest control.
Ludt said commissioners won't know how much the work will cost until bids are received. They hope to scrape up enough money to pay cash for the improvements. They also intend to seek grants to help cover the expense.
Earlier work: The projects are in keeping with work begun last year, when improvements were made to the annex on Market Street and the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center on Scott Street. Commissioners borrowed more than $4 million to pay for that work as well as an overhaul of the county 911 system, which is in progress.
Ludt said the buildings had been let go for some time because there was no money to pay for their upkeep. It's important to keep them in good repair now, especially while the county has money available, he said.
One of the county's two 0.5 percent sales taxes expires at the end of this year and will be on the ballot for renewal in May.
"If we lose that tax, we're in trouble," Ludt said.
Officials have said each tax brings in about $12 million a year. Combined, they make up about 52 percent of the county's general fund budget.

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