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Commissioners take a look back at the successes, challenges of 2020

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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From left: Seneca County Commissioners Anthony Paradiso, Tyler Shuff, and Mike Kerschner (TiffinOhio.net Composite)

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners presented a 2020 year in review report Thursday morning.

The report focused on the board’s major themes of the year, the “Three C’s,” which are continuity, collaboration and communication. Unfortunately, a fourth C emerged and became a defining factor … COVID-19.

The commissioners admitted that 2020 was a challenging year, but each said they believe the county overcame adversity and celebrated many successes.

During the PowerPoint presentation, the commissioners provided examples of continuity, collaboration and communication, and also spoke about why these themes were important, especially during a global pandemic.

Continuity is important because there are talented, hard-working people in the right positions across the county. Examples of continuity included a focus by the board on fiscal responsibility and investment in vital county services. When the commissioners added $125,000 to the Budget Stabilization Fund and approved a balanced budget at the end of the year, they felt they had continued to practice fiscal responsibility. Another example of continuity was the sustained focus on planning, including the approval of the Facilities Master Plan and the Countywide Comprehensive Plan last year.

Collaboration was displayed through creating a business-friendly environment and by working with businesses, county agencies and community organizations. The board also practiced collaboration by working closely with state and federal legislators to find opportunities to improve Seneca County. In February, the board approved local tax incentives to facilitate a $38 million expansion project for Church and Dwight. The board also continued its work with Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and Fostoria Economic Development Corp. to continue to incentivize economic growth.

In terms of legislative advocacy, close work with then-State Rep. Bill Reineke helped lead to $200,000 in funding for the Opportunity Park Project, which will lead to improvements at the county’s only park solely for those with developmental disabilities.

The commissioners also enjoyed countless successes by working with other county agencies, including with the Seneca County Auditor’s Office and Seneca County Dog Warden’s Office to run another successful dog picture coloring contest.

As for communication, the commissioners stressed the importance of using their platform to amplify the voices of residents in the community. One example was when the commissioners approved a resolution formalizing their support of the Second Amendment at the urging of a group from Ohio Stands United. The commissioners also celebrated the achievements of individuals and organizations and used all means necessary to be as transparent and accessible as possible.

The three major themes became even more important in the times of COVID-19, as the board worked to make careful budgetary decisions and manage about $3.5 million of federal CARES Act funding. The board partnered with five local agencies to distribute $1.25 million to assist residents, small businesses and nonprofits. Nearly 200 small businesses and 493 households received assistance through the county program. For a more comprehensive 2020 review, visit the county’s website.

In other action, the commissioners heard from Seneca County Opportunity Center individuals and personnel and approved a proclamation recognizing March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.

The Opportunity Center’s motto for this year is “Seneca County Strong” as officials work through the challenges of COVID-19 to provide important services to Opportunity Center individuals.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner thanked everyone from the center for joining the meeting.

“We will be there to support you whenever we can,” he said.

To learn more about upcoming Opportunity Center events, including a virtual scavenger hunt, visit the Seneca County Board of DD-Seneca County Opportunity Center page on Facebook, or this link to join the scavenger hunt.

After an executive session, the commissioners agreed to hire Echo Unit paramedic Mary Zimmerman as a full-time medic and agreed to add 3 percent to the salary/wage lines of county employees. With the increase, the commissioners are recommending departments give 1 percent as a bonus, and 2 percent as a raise.

During new business, the board approved:

  • A $59,411.70 supplemental appropriation to the County Coronavirus Relief Distribution Fund for equipment.
  • Authorizing amendment #2 for the Engineering Services Agreement with Stantec for taxiway repairs at the Seneca County Airport.

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