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Seneca County Commissioners to consider resolution in support of wind turbine project referendum bill

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TIFFIN — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners is to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday at its office, 111 Madison St. During old business, the commissioners are to consider a resolution that would lend formal support to Ohio House Bill 401.

If the bill is approved, 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.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner spoke during the press conference to discuss the board’s position in support of the bill. “If you believe, as I do, that as elected officials, we have a responsibility to make sure that people have a voice in what happens in their community, this referendum initiative certainly accomplishes this task,” he said at the presser.

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.”

The commissioners also are to discuss a resolution that would clean up some of the language from a previously approved resolution that sunset the county’s Alternative Energy Zone. No substantive changes are expected to be proposed and any modifications being considered would work to clarify previous clauses. 

In new business, the board is to consider:

  • 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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