The Seneca County Board of Commissioners re-elected Shayne Thomas as its president during a meeting Thursday morning.
The commissioners also received a positive financial update, allowing them to make several long-term financial commitments during the meeting.
County Administrator Stacy Wilson said General Fund revenue exceeded expectations for 2019, hitting more than $18 million. She said the county’s carryover fund balance Thursday morning was about $857,000. This figure does not include other funds the county has access to, such as $500,000 in the Budget Stabilization Fund and about $885,000 in the Medicaid MCO transition fund.
The Medicaid money has no restrictions and was received as a one-time payment from the state to help counties transition as they stopped receiving Medicaid MCO Sales Tax money. The commissioners also have more than $500,000 due back to them that they advanced for various projects.
Since the commissioners were confident in the financial position of the county, they unanimously agreed to authorize two-percent raises for county employees. It is at the discretion of each department how that two-percent increase is distributed.
Not only did the board move forward with raises, but commissioners also agreed to add $125,000 to the Budget Stabilization Fund, to bring the fund’s total to $625,000. The board created the fund in April 2018 to protect against a future economic downturn.
Commissioner Mike Kerschner said that creating the fund was a good plan because of the uncertainty of the future strength of the economy. “We can do the opposite of what other government entities do,” Kerschner said in 2018. “Instead of spending our grandchildren’s money, we can put it in a savings account.”
Commissioner Shayne Thomas said he’d like to see the board continue to add $125,000 to the fund quarterly, but that it would be evaluated depending on the county’s financial situation.
Commissioners also agreed to set aside $75,000 for the creation of a human resources department with the goal of creating a job description during the first quarter of this year and advertising for it in the second quarter of the year.
In other business, the board reorganized for 2020, re-electing Thomas as its president and electing Commissioner Anthony Paradiso as the vice president. Meetings are to continue on Thursdays at 10 a.m., but that is subject to change.
The commissioners also shifted a few committee and board assignments.
Also during the meeting, the commissioners approved the policy for the data center/server room located at the justice center. The policy was introduced by the county’s IT Committee.
In other action, the board agreed to send letters to state officials endorsing applications for state capital budget funding. The commissioners are requesting funds for the health department entrance project, to bring the entrance of the office into full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Opportunity Park expansion project, which would double the size of the park and would add equipment to make the park inclusive for all residents.
In other news, Seneca County Clerk of Courts Jean Eckelberry announced that the county had received the 2020 Technology Grant through the Supreme Court of Ohio in the amount of $202,639.05 to update the court’s case management system. Eckelberry said the grant will fund the purchase of new computers, servers, training and software. She said the new systems will give the office “cutting-edge technology.”
During new business, the board approved:
- A $75,000 supplemental appropriation to the Maintenance and Repair Fund for equipment.
- A $30,000 supplemental appropriation to the Seneca County Employees Health Fund for Health Insurance Premiums.
- A $125,000 supplemental appropriation to the Budget Stabilization Fund in the transfers out line.
- A $75,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for human resources contingencies.
- A fund transfer from the General Fund to the Budget Stabilization Fund of $150,000.
- A refund for certain landowners within the Perry-Wilhelm Tile Group in Bloom Township.
- Authorizing the Seneca County Engineer to hold an annual meeting of county and township authorities.
- Designating County Engineer Mark Zimmerman as the authorizing agent to participate in the Ohio Department of Transportation Cooperative Purchasing Program.
- Authorizing the expenditure of funds for supplies for times of snow removal, emergencies and meetings held by the Seneca County Engineer.
- Authorizing Zimmerman to use the Force Account pursuant to Ohio law in 2020 in the matter of routine maintenance of equipment and facilities.
- Allowing Zimmerman to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Local Transportation Improvement Programs.