The Seneca County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement for program guidelines with the Tiffin-Seneca United Way, after agreeing to commit $250,000 to the organization through the CARES Act earlier this month.
Last week, similar programs were agreed upon between the county and Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, Fostoria Economic Development Corp. and Great Lakes Community Action Partnership.
In total, $1 million was committed to assisting residents, small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the community.
The United Way will assist residents negatively impacted by COVID-19 with programs that provide mortgage assistance, homeless prevention and utility assistance (water, sewer, gas, electric and internet).
For more information, contact the United Way (419) 448-0355 or First Call For Help (419) 448-4357.
The board also committed $250,000 to the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services for similar programs to assist families struggling with mortgage, rent or utility fees because of the pandemic.
County Administrator Stacy Wilson also announced that four local governmental entities agreed to work with the county to provide financial assistance to small businesses in the county struggling because of the health crisis. Bloom Township ($18,000), Hopewell Township ($20,000), Clinton Township ($80,000) and the village of Bettsville ($15,000) all agreed to partner with the county and TSEP to distribute money to small businesses in their respective areas.
Wilson said she expects other villages and townships will also participate in the program.
Also related to CARES Act funding, the commissioners agreed to commit $34,472.22 to various county projects. The funding can be used for previously unbudgeted expenditures brought about by COVID-19. So far, about $1,145,000 has been spent on such projects. The county now has about $885,000 left of its allocation through the program, which was roughly $3.3 million.
In other action, the commissioners approved a resolution that puts into place a three-year agreement with the Barnes-Deinzer Seneca County Museum Foundation to operate the museum. Under the resolution, the foundation would be responsible for basic maintenance and there’s an understanding that the group would work with the Seneca County Historical Society.
The board authorized Wilson to work with the prosecutor’s office to finalize details of the contract.
In other business, members of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee requested that the commissioners allow them to place a statue on the property at the Seneca County Justice Center.
Rev. Paul Stark, from Heidelberg University, presented a PowerPoint on why the project would be worthwhile for the community.
Stark said the MLK Jr. Day Committee has celebrated the work of King in Seneca County for more than 30 years. He said the committee felt it was time to build off of the annual celebration and other events to inspire Seneca County citizens every day.
The group requested permission from the commissioners to put the monument on the south side of the Justice Center lawn. The project would be of no cost to the county, as money for it would be privately raised over the next two years.
Stark said the statue would fit in well with the statues of Lady Justice and William Harvey Gibson, as Gibson helped to free the nation from slavery and as Lady Justice symbolizes equal justice for all. Several other members from the committee lent support for the idea, including Rev. Marilyn Coney, of Faith United Methodist Church; and Shaun Gunnell, of Heidelberg’s Student Affairs Office.
The commissioners indicated various levels of support for the project and agreed to seek more public feedback and input on the idea before deciding.
Also during the meeting, Seneca Regional Planning Commission Director Charlene Watkins asked the commissioners to work with her in applying to move some funding between 2019 Community Development Block Grant Program projects.
The Bloomville sidewalk improvements under the plan came in about $13,500 under budget, and Watkins hopes that funding could be transferred to the Melmore Park improvement project. That project would include the addition of two cast-iron grills, accessibility additions and bleacher backrests. The matter is expected to come before the board again next week.