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Commissioners thank local student for heroic actions, approve reopening of Seneca County Museum

TiffinOhio.net Staff

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From left: Seneca County Commissioners Mike Kerschner, Anthony Paradiso, and Tyler Shuff

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners thanked a young man Thursday morning for his quick-thinking and heroic actions during a fire.

Last month, Seneca East High School Senior Drew Steinmetz noticed a woodshed fire and quickly alerted authorities. Firefighters say his quick reporting of the fire and his use of firefighting methods while he waited for help to arrive saved the lives of two animals and prevented further fire damage.

The commissioners presented Steinmetz with a letter that states the board is “proud to call you a resident of Seneca County.”

Steinmetz also briefly spoke about his Eagle Scout project, titled “Bags of Hope.” The project saw Steinmetz raise money to make string bags filled with comfort items such as a stuffed animal, a fidget spinner, a coloring book and a stress ball. The bags were given to Republic and Bloom Township Fire and EMS squads to be provided to a child when involved in an accident.

The commissioners also noted that Steinmetz is on track to become the youngest certified Emergency Medical Technician for the Republic squad of Seneca County EMS. Steinmetz is on schedule to be certified in July.

In other business, the commissioners approved the reopening of the Seneca County Museum to occur on Memorial Day weekend. Initially, the first floor is to be the only one open to the public as museum officials continue to inventory items on the other floors. The museum has been closed to the public since March of 2020 due to COVID-19.

In other action, County Administrator Stacy Wilson provided the latest sales tax report to the board. Sales tax receipts for April equaled $816,083.09, which represents a 20-percent increase compared to the report from April of last year. The April update represents sales tax collected in most of February and some of January. Through the first four months of the year, the county has collected about 10.1% more in sales tax compared to the same period in 2020 ($3,432,077.52 vs $3,115,861.53).

Also during the meeting, the board agreed to publicize a response to a letter from Rick and Dorothy Bouillon, of Alvada. The initial letter levied some concerns about the future of Seneca County EMS. The commissioners’ response includes a one-page general statement from the board and three pages of detailed replies to specific claims made in the Bouillon’s letter.

Board President Mike Kerschner said both letters are to be posted on the county’s website.

“Anyone that has any questions can call us,” he said. “I think there are some misconceptions out there as it relates to the direction we are trying to take EMS across the county. There are also some concerns that are valid … We want to answer those questions as professionally and transparently as possible. You can read the initial letter here, and the commissioners’ response here.

Also, the commissioners received five bids for the 2021 Chip Seal Project. The project will include chip seal work on CR 5, 10, 13, 16, 29, 35, 40, 58 and 61. The engineer’s estimate for the project is $629,888.

The bids received were as follows:

  • Henry Bergman, of Genoa, $560,873.38
  • Ward Construction, of Leipsic, $523,963.23
  • Unilliance, of Oak Harbor, $571,788.45
  • 2020 Enterprise, of Somerset, $582,164.66
  • Allied Construction, of Chillicothe, $597,362.71

In other action, Commissioner Tyler Shuff read a proclamation recognizing emergency dispatchers in the county as this week is National Telecommunicators Week.

The commissioners also approved the purchase of a new ambulance on behalf of Seneca County EMS. The cost of the new vehicle is about $220,465. County Emergency Services Director Ken Majors said the ambulance should be ready to be used by county personnel in about eight months. The long wait time for the vehicle is due to a high demand nationally for ambulances

During appointments, Nicole Williams from the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties discussed the Safe Serve program offered by the agency. The online program is free to business owners and promotes the legal and responsible sale and service of alcoholic beverages.

During new business, the board approved:

  • Accepting a bid and agreement with Doug Fredritz for a three-year agricultural lease on about 137 acres of county-owned land in Eden Township. Fredritz’s bid, submitted on March 18th, was for $256.50 an acre.
  • A contract with M&B Asphalt for the CR 48 pavement resurfacing project. The engineer’s estimate for the project is $396,296 and M&B’s bid was for $341,709.09.

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