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Commissioners to discuss joint countywide comprehensive plan, program to reduce energy costs

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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From left: Commissioners Mike Kerschner, Shayne Thomas, and Anthony Paradiso

The Seneca County Board of Commissioners is to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday via Zoom.

At about 10:30 a.m., Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Charlene Watkins is slated to give the commissioners an update on the joint countywide comprehensive plan.

The plan, which is being completed by CT Consultants, began development in March 2018. The plan includes the county, the city of Tiffin, Fostoria Economic Development Corp. and the Seneca County Park District.

The roughly $120,000 plan is to include strategies for housing, commercial and industrial development, education, transportation, parks and recreation, and arts and culture.

In old business, the board is expected to continue discussion on a program that could potentially save money on energy costs. In June, a representative from Palmer Energy introduced the program to the commissioners.

Palmer Energy partners with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) to help manage a natural gas and electric program for member counties. Seneca County has opted into this program, which is designed to help save money on natural gas and electric bills by using the strength of group buying.

Palmer is working with CCAO to install a solar array in the state to offer a hedge for counties and cities using the company for energy aggregation. Under the program, about 20-25 percent of energy would be provided through a solar power purchasing agreement by governmental entities.

Palmer representatives believe the arrangement could save money over time and could also offer a degree of diversification to the energy portfolio of those involved. The more counties and cities that use the program, the more beneficial it would become to those entities.

The company had about 10 counties committed in June, and officials said at that time they expect 25-30 more to enter the program. Several cities also are expected to join the agreement. The array is expected to be a 200-300-megawatt facility.

Palmer officials believe a carbon tax could be implemented on other energy sources, and so they believe a hedge on solar could be financially beneficial moving forward. They also cited the low price of solar energy as a good reason to diversify energy generation sources.

During new business, the commissioners are to consider:

  • A $5,104 supplemental appropriation to the Seneca County Sewer District Fund for capital improvements.
  • Appointing attorney Rhonda L. Best as special prosecutor on behalf of the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office.
  • An agreement with Stantec Consulting Services for general services effective Jan. 1 of this year on behalf of the Seneca County Airport.

The commissioners are encouraging residents to join them in the online meetings through the application Zoom, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To maintain maximum accessibility, the meetings will be recorded, archived and streamed live through Zoom.

Residents can join the meetings by computer or mobile device at the following link: https://zoom.us/j/92595230790. Residents also can download the Zoom meeting app and join with meeting ID 925 9523 0790.

Those who would rather call in and listen to the audio of the meetings can dial (646) 558-8656 and use the meeting ID.

The meeting also is to be streamed on Facebook Live on the Seneca County Commissioners page.

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