The Seneca County Board of Commissioners received an update about Seneca Regional Planning Commission Thursday morning.
Commission Executive Director Charlene Watkins provided a 2020 year in review PowerPoint presentation and also discussed goals and objectives for this year.
Watkins said the agency helped to bring in about $850,000 in grant funding in 2020 to help various organizations throughout the county.
Grants included $357,059.47 for road improvements through the Ohio Public Works Commission Issue 1 program, leading to improvements to township roads across 15 different projects; $154,712.70 through the Home Sewage Treatment System grant program, which led to the installation of 15 new septic systems, with designs approved for six others; $83,380 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to help fund the creation of the Attica Area Veterans Memorial Park; and $150,000 through an AEP grant that will lead to two electric vehicle charging stations in City Lot No. 7 in downtown Tiffin.
SRPC also helped use Community Development Block Grant funding of about $105,000 to assist with several improvement projects including work done on sidewalks in Bloomville ($55,757.50), for homelessness prevention across the county ($9,400) and for park upgrades in Melmore, including the addition of a vault restroom ($20,775).
Watkins said the organization also continued to administer the sewer district, launched a community development initiative entitled “See Seneca Grow” and managed the Revolving Loan Fund for two projects in concert with Air Cooled Engines Plus and OCECO.
Watkins said the organization hopes to continue to field a quality team in 2021, as they work to update the agency’s strategic plan with a focus on communicating with partners throughout the community. In other business, County Administrator Stacy Wilson provided an update on the county’s sales tax revenue. The sales tax represents nearly half of General Fund revenue for the county’s budget in most years.
The February report, which includes sales tax receipts from most of November and some of December, was reported as $817,367.53. This represents a 5.9-percent increase from the February 2020 report. Through two months this year, sales tax income is up 8.8 percent compared to last year.
During the budget process last year, the commissioners were conservative with the 2021 General Fund budget, not adding salary increases because of the uncertainty of the economic situation due to COVID 19.
Previously this year, the commissioners said they would re-evaluate the situation after the first quarter of the year. With the positive sales tax reports in January and February, Commissioner Mike Kerschner suggested moving up that timeline to provide salary increases to county employees who are paid out of the General Fund.
The board agreed to consider taking action on this matter during next week’s board session. Commissioner Anthony Paradiso emphasized that any increase would be provided within the salary line of the budget of General Fund departments. From there, elected officials and department heads could use the additional money how they see fit.
During new business, the board approved:
- A $25,000 supplemental appropriation to the Concealed Handgun Licenses Fund for supplies.
- An $8,009.50 supplemental appropriation to the Ditch Maintenance Fund for equipment and other expenses.
- A $7,926 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for contract services.
- Setting time, date and place to receive sealed bids for a farm lease of county-owned property in Eden Township. On March 26th last year, the board accepted a bid and entered into a one-year agreement with Fred Schoen to farm the roughly 147 acres of land. Schoen, of Republic, bid $288.50 per acre.
- A contract with RS Associates, doing business ass Resource Solutions, on behalf of Seneca County Emergency Management Agency.
The board also set March 18 at 10:15 a.m. to receive sealed bids for a farm lease of about 146 acres of county-owned land in Eden Township.
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