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Commissioners discuss letter from Bascom Joint Ambulance District, ‘kill switch’ bill for wind and solar

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

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners heard about National Disaster Preparedness Month from Seneca County Emergency Management Agency Director John Spahr Thursday morning.

Spahr said it is very important for families and individuals to have a plan in case disaster strikes. “It’s a matter of when not if,” he said, of potential disasters.

In Seneca County, Spahr said, the most common disasters are due to wind or flooding caused by severe weather.

Spahr said it’s important to have flashlights, a radio and to keep your phone charged during a disaster. He also reminded county residents to sign up for the county’s free Wireless Emergency Notification System, which features text or phone call alerts related to severe weather and other disasters. Use this link to register.

Resources and more information are available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency at ready.gov, but you can also visit the county’s local EMA website at senecacountyema.org.

In other action, the commissioners shared a lengthy conversation in response to a letter sent to them by the Bascom Joint Ambulance District board. The letter asks questions about what would occur if BJAD stays in the county system or leaves to start its own EMS service. You can view the letter here.

The commissioners agreed to defer most questions to Seneca County EMS staff. A response letter is expected to be sent in the next couple of weeks.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner emphasized that the letter could not guarantee any action of future boards of commissioners, but that the county would answer the questions to the best of its ability with the information available at this time.

In other business, County Administrator Stacy Wilson said that during next week’s meeting a time, date and place will be set for a public hearing related to the passage of Ohio Senate Bill 52.

The new law, which goes into effect Oct. 11, grants new powers to county commissioners to scuttle wind and solar development projects.

The approval of SB 52 allows county commissioners to pass resolutions to ban wind or solar projects outright or limit them to certain “energy development districts” in the county.

Each of the three Seneca County commissioners have expressed interest in restricting wind or solar projects throughout the entire county.

Proper notice and procedures must be followed, and the decision is subject to a referendum if a petition gets the necessary amount of signatures in the 30 days following the passage of the resolution. The petition must have at least eight percent of the number of  registered electors who voted in the county in the most recent gubernatorial election.

During new business, the commissioners approved:

  • An agreement with M&B Asphalt Co., Inc. for the Issue 1 Round 35 2021 Seneca County  Township Road Reconstruction Program. The annual program is 100-percent funded through the  Ohio Public Works Commission. The bid for this year’s project was $1,321.268.19.
  • A $100,000 supplemental appropriation to the County Sales Tax Revenues Fund.
  • A $69,968 supplemental appropriation to the JRIG Grant on behalf of CROSSWAEH.
  • A $175.93 supplemental appropriation to the Wolf Creek Ditch Project Fund.
  • A $400 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for travel and expenses.
  • Cancellation of the maintenance reductions assessments for 11-092.
  • Certifying unpaid assessments to the county auditor for collection.
  • Entering into cooperative agreements with the Seneca County Township Trustees for Issue I – Round 36.

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