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Commissioners preview solar eclipse community meetings, submit grant for federal funds




Seneca County Commissioner's Office

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners on Thursday discussed upcoming meetings for the community to learn more about the April 8th, 2024, total solar eclipse.

Seneca County Emergency Management Agency Director John Spahr spoke during the board session and announced identical sessions on March 22nd at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., to be held at the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center located at 928 W. Market St. The public is invited to attend these sessions to learn more about the eclipse and how community leaders are preparing for it.

The total solar eclipse is a unique and spectacular phenomenon that happens on average only once every 1.5 years somewhere on Earth. Seneca County will be in the path of totality, with the centerline of the eclipse passing through the county from the southwest to the northeast, passing directly over Bloomville. The last total solar eclipse visible in Ohio was in 1806, and the next total solar eclipse in Ohio will not occur until the year 2099.

The meetings will offer an opportunity for attendees to ask questions or volunteer to assist in preparing for the event. County officials are hard at work behind the scenes preparing for the challenges that the eclipse may bring to the community. Some experts believe the number of people in the county that day could triple the community’s current population.

“It is critical that local officials and county residents are prepared for this unique event,” Spahr said. “We believe that working together as a community will enable us to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all those who visit Seneca County on April 8, 2024, and for all those who call this community home.”

In other business, County Administrator Jaime Wolfe informed the commissioners that grant applications had been submitted to federal legislators on two county capital improvement projects. Funding requests for the construction of an EMS station on the east side of the county and for the construction of a new agriculture building on the south side of Tiffin were submitted.

Wolfe said there was only about a week to prepare all the information needed to meet the deadline of the grant, but said she is hopeful that federal legislators such as Congressman Bob Latta and Senator Sherrod Brown will look favorably upon the requests.

Additionally, Wolfe said the County RTA Building at 109 S. Washington St. will be closed on Friday, March 24th, so crews can complete work on the HVAC ductwork. Work will begin on March 17th, and will continue over the next month on the project, but the office is only expected to be closed to the public for just one day.

Also during the session, the commissioners each spoke about their time at the Fostoria Economic Development Corp. and Fostoria Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services annual meeting that they attended Thursday morning. At the meeting, Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler was recognized and thanked for his 12 years of public service as a government official. Each of the commissioners emphasized their gratitude for the mayor and thanked FEDC and the Chamber for putting on a successful event.

In other business, the commissioners went into a brief executive session to discuss an ongoing investigation involving charges against a public employee, per ORC 121.22.G.1.

In new business, the commissioners approved:

  • A $10,000 supplemental appropriation to the Commissary Fund for equipment.
  • A $1,404 supplemental appropriation to the General Special Projects Fund for contract services.
  • A $4,366 supplemental appropriation to the Community Development Block Grant Fund for other administrative expenses.
  • Amending the board’s orders of a March 2nd resolution to transfer funds to the VOCA Grant Fund.
  • Approving the recommendation of the Tax Incentive Review Council’s findings regarding Enterprise Zone and Community Reinvestment Area tax abatements for companies in the county for tax year 2022.
  • The real estate appraisal contract with Hinkle Real Estate Advisors on behalf of the county airport.
  • Setting time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the 2023 Chip Seal Project.
  • Setting time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the 2023 Pavement Marking Project.

The commissioners are scheduled to meet for their next regular board meeting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 23rd.

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