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Seneca County Commissioners approve resolution supporting wind turbine project referendum bill





TIFFIN — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners commended Tonia Hoffert, among other actions, during its meeting Thursday morning.

Hoffert is the director of the Seneca County Museum. She has been involved with the entity for 20 years, including several years as a volunteer. The commissioners gave Hoffert a letter Thursday and thanked her for all her hard work and dedication to the museum.

The letter given to Hoffert states she has “been an integral part in improving the museum.” It goes on to state, “Many people across our county have been educated and enriched through the stories you and other museum personnel have shared about our history. It has been said before that history often repeats itself, we thank you for helping to teach us those lessons of the past so we can put our best foot forward as we move into the future.”

In other business, the commissioners agreed to approve a resolution granting formal support for State Rep. Bill Reineke’s Ohio House Bill 401. If the bill is approved by state government officials, wind turbine projects could be subject to a referendum vote in the townships where projects would be located.

Supporters of the bill argue that this would allow township residents more of a voice in the siting process. Last week, all three commissioners visited the Statehouse in Columbus for a press conference hosted by State Rep. Bill Reineke to announce the bill. There also is a companion bill that was announced in the Ohio Senate.

Critics, however, such as the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, a group that advocates for energy issues from a conservative perspective, says this legislation would “impede property rights” and create hurdles for energy developers.

“Ohio has a rich history of being a leader in innovation. This proposal would send a strong signal that Ohio views the emerging renewable energy industry with hostility and would slam the door to the economic opportunities this industry provides,” said Tyler Duvelius, Ohio Conservative Energy Forum executive director in a written statement. “The government has no place trampling property rights in favor of one form of energy over another.”

In other action, the commissioners approved a motion to appoint Fostoria resident Nate Heiser to the Ottawa-Sandusky-Seneca Joint Solid Waste Management District’s Policy Committee. The 21-person committee includes a spot for a concerned resident from each county. Heiser attended the meeting and agreed to serve on the committee. For Heiser to take the appointment, representatives from the city of Tiffin, Loudon Township and the Seneca County General Health District also must approve the appointment.

Also, the commissioners confirmed upcoming meeting dates. The board will meet with local judges and the sheriff at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20. The board will then have a regular meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. During the week of Thanksgiving, the regular session is to be moved to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The board also will meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 3. In other business, the commissioners heard from Amy Huffman, of Palmer Energy about the county’s electricity rates.

The board agreed to go with a three-year contract, after the current contract expires in May 2020. Huffman said the rates are to be lower than they were in the previous three-year contract. 

In new business, the board approved:

  • A $38,822.04 supplemental appropriation to the Pre-Sentence Investigation Writer Fund for contract services.
  • A $60,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund in the Transfers Out Line.
  • The access-visitation grant with Patchworks House on behalf of the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services.
  • A fiber repayment schedule on behalf of the Seneca County Emergency Management Agency and the commissioners.
  • A resolution certifying unpaid assessments to the county auditor for collection, as per Ohio Revised Code Section 6117.02.
  • Authorizing split usage of funding for the Seneca County Museum and the American Civil War Museum for the State Capital Budget Funding application.

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