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Commissioners push to spread word of over $1M available to Seneca County businesses, residents

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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Tiffin, Ohio — During Thursday’s session, the Seneca County Board of Commissioners discussed ways to spread the word about several assistance programs that aim to assist people, businesses and non-profit organizations that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

The commissioners have made $1.25 million of CARES Act funding available through several community partners including Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, Fostoria Economic Development Corporation, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Tiffin-Seneca United Way and Seneca County DJFS.

Programs available include financial assistance, food assistance, rent/mortgage assistance, utility assistance and more. To learn more, visit the county’s website, or reach out to one of the aforementioned agencies.

The commissioners also approved about $32,455 in county projects to be funded by CARES Act money. This year, the county has spent about $1.1 million on county projects that were previously unbudgeted and were brought about by the health crisis.

The county received nearly $3.4 million in CARES money in total. With funding used on assistance programs and other county projects, about $853,000 remains that must be spent by the end of the year.

In other action, the commissioners received one bid for a small piece of county-owned property in downtown Tiffin. The Old Trinity Episcopal Church bid $6,600 for a 25-foot-by-55-foot piece of land currently in a county parking lot.

The land is necessary for a $2.4-million community kitchen project that the church is moving forward with.

As part of the deal, church officials also plan to make about $50,000 of parking lot security improvements to the county lot that is part of the piece of land that is being sold. The board will review the bid and make a decision at its next meeting, Nov. 19.

In other business, the commissioners agreed to increase spending by about $25,000 for Emergency Medical Services personnel through the end of the year.

The proposal, pitched by Commissioner Shayne Thomas, would be a way to add staffing to assist the Seneca County EMS volunteers who run the system. Emergency Services Director Ken Majors said adding paid personnel will increase flexibility and can help supplement and augment the volunteers.

The commissioners thanked the EMS volunteers for doing a great job over the past 45 years, and Majors ensured county residents that volunteers will continue to be a vital part of EMS operations in Seneca County for as long as they are willing to do it.

Also during the meeting, County Administrator Stacy Wilson reported that expenses through October for the General Fund equaled about $13.3 million, while revenue was about $16.3 million.

The revenue report is inflated slightly by $885,000 of one-time Medicaid MCO money that was moved at the beginning of the pandemic, and by a grant-funded project at the Seneca County Airport which amounts to about $900,000 on the revenue and expenses side of the equation.

Wilson also reported that the Bureau of Workers Compensation is to provide a rebate check to the county of about $726,000, with about half of that going to the General Fund.

During public comments, former Seneca County Museum Director Tonia Hoffert informed the commissioners that she would not accept the county’s offer to return under a new role. “After long discussions with my family … I’ve decided to go in a different direction. So, I will not be going back to the museum,” Hoffert said.

Commissioner Tony Paradiso had previously outlined a plan that would bring Hoffert back in a new role, while the Barnes-Deinzer Foundation would be responsible for choosing a director. The commissioners thanked Hoffert for her time spent working at the museum and wished her well for the future.

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