As part of our end-of-the year stuff in the Esposito home Nature Girl was insisting I get in our semi-annual property tax payment in so it clears before January 1...nice to know tax planning is in her nature.
So off I go to navigate downtown's Ohio Building to personally deliver the check because Nature Girl is not only thorough but also paranoid that we have a stamped copy for the files, and hence started my adventure.
My experience in the Ohio Building has been largely limited to walking in from the parking deck just east of the Building to the fourth floor atrium, then navigating up to County Council chambers. For the most part any other interaction I ever have with the county is handled with a check in the mail, but now I have a newfound appreciation for those who make the trek for business because there sure as hell is little pleasure in it.
From the fourth floor entrance off the deck you need to walk around and find the stairs; it isn't easily marked but thank God Fiscal Officer John Donofrio's staff has plenty of signs posted for idiots such as myself who need to find the third floor. After walking into dead-ends around the lighted atrium with the third floor taunting me from the open space below I finally find the stairs and make my way down...only to find more confusion.
Taxes and property is a big deal with lots of records so I'm forced to navigate to other offices away from the atrium; again, thanks to the proliferation of many signs although the people I literally bumped into were in the same boat. We find the offices, need copies of the bills that won't be mailed until next month, but otherwise the fine folks behind the glass are helpful and courteous.
After all this walking I need to...well, rest. So I notice in this public building on the floor where the people's business is done paying taxes there are doors to the men's room and a women's room at one of the dead-ends in the atrium. Of course, they have security keypads so they aren't open to the public.
Hasn't anyone in government figured out yet if it weren't so hard to find a place to pee in a public building we might not be p-o'd at government as much as we are?
Finally frustrated I opt to hop down a couple flights -- following signs again to tell me where the stairs are because the stairs aren't conveniently located where the giant atrium draws everyone's attention. Finally downstairs I see there is actually a convenient behind-the-glass window on the first floor South Main entrance lobby but it isn't for taking payments to the county -- that might be too easy. Instead it is for the CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Administration) leading me to conclude deadbeat parents needing to drop off a check have an easier time than the people of Summit County who own property and want to pay their taxes on it.
Suggestion to County Executive Russ Pry: the next time Summit County constructs a building for public purposes make every restroom open to the public (after all, they're paying for it) and by all means make the architects have to drop off tax payments in person so they get a full appreciation on how important it is to make doing business with the government as convenient as buying a burger -- not asking for Swenson's curbside service but it's a start.
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Ironman viewing note for tonight: as posted earlier the NewsNight Akron crew already taped our Newsmaker of the Year special but it won't air until a week from today (9:00 p.m. on January 4, 2008) because of scheduling conflicts from the panelists. Tonight Eric Mansfield does his own NNA Year in Review show; pray he doesn't run out of breath. He's also anchoring Channel 3's 6:00, 7:00 and 11:00 newscasts in addition to the Akron-Canton News at 6:30 and 10:00 in addition to the PBS 45/49 9:00 p.m. broadcast.