Title office moving, closed for 2 days

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Belmont County Clerk of Courts Cynthia Fregiato, left, and staff member Cindy Sharpe work at the new office location.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Clerk of Courts is moving the title office to a new location, and the office will be closed two days next week as a result.

Starting July 22, the title office will share offices with the Belmont County Board of Elections in a building formerly owned by The Health Plan. The site is located along U.S. 40 east of St. Clairsville.

Belmont County Clerk of Courts Cynthia Fregiato was at the new office Wednesday. She said summer interns have been hard at work for two weeks moving titles from the old office. Seven years’ worth of titles are kept on file.

“They have been a big help. This will all be done by the time we move the computers and scanners from the old office,” she said, adding that her office is working with the state to transfer the computers. “Our computer system is operated by the state of Ohio, the Department of Public Safety. So they will be reporting our computers and our receipt printers and our title printers. They will be moving all of that equipment for us on July 18,” she said.

The office will be closed that day and July 19.

The title office is a division of the Clerk of Courts Office. The legal side of the office will remain on the third floor of the county courthouse in downtown St. Clairsville.

“We will be closed for two days. … But during these periods of time if anyone needs a title, they may go to the Bellaire office to have their titles processed or conduct any business,” she said, adding that the Bellaire site is at 400 Imperial Plaza.

Fregiato said title office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with an hour break from 1-2 p.m. She said after the move, any mail that needs to go to the new location should be sent to the courthouse address at 101 W. Main St., St. Clairsville. Overnight mail must go to the new address of 52180 National Road, St. Clairsville, OH 43950.

“We’ve also sent out letters and posted signage to all the (auto) dealers that we deal with as far as titles are concerned, so that they can be aware of this transition,” she said.

Fregiato said visitors to the new title office will notice a more expansive waiting room.

“We will have five windows to be able to service customers as opposed to the two at the old location. The waiting area is much more spacious, though hopefully people won’t be waiting very long,” she said.

“There’s more parking available,” she continued. “Space is the No. 1 thing I think that is going to benefit the public. The availability of our location also. We were located on a side street. I think this will have easier access to us.

“We have a more spacious bookkeeping room than we had at the previous location, a secure storage area, and also our own IT computer phone accesses. At the other location we shared that with other people who were located in that building,” Fregiato said. “We are normally very busy.”

The office staff is also optimistic about the move.

“We’re definitely going to be able to serve the public more efficiently,” staff member Cindy Sharpe said. “We’re going to have more square footage here.”

Fregiato thanked the county commissioners for their support during the transition, as well as the board of elections and its director, Kelly McCabe, for their help during the move.

“They have been very helpful in giving us access to some of their furniture that we are going to use temporarily,” Fregiato said.

She also noted her office will continue to operate the branch title office in Bellaire.

The commissioners purchased the two buildings formerly owned by The Health Plan in order to centralize courts and county offices and to eliminate the need to rent the previous election board and title office locations. The elections and title offices are situated in the lower building on the property. The next phase of work is renovating the upper building for use by the county division courts and the prosecutor’s office.