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Commissioners hear updates from Fostoria Economic Development Corp., CASA




Seneca County Commissioner's Office

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners received a positive report from Fostoria Economic Development Corp. President Renee Smith during their Thursday morning meeting. Smith’s visit was part of her routine effort to update the county on the latest economic development updates in Fostoria.

One of the highlights of Smith’s report was the completion of the city’s third spec building on US 23 South, which has filled the industrial park in that area. Smith mentioned that funding for the project was obtained through a state program and that there has been significant interest from businesses in the property. Smith expressed her goal to have the building filled by the end of the summer and also mentioned plans to establish a new industrial park for additional spec building structures.

Smith also shared that Fostoria’s Splash Pad project received a $450,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. She concluded her update by expressing gratitude to the commissioners for their support of economic development in Fostoria, acknowledging the cooperative efforts between elected officials, chambers, and economic development agencies in Seneca County.

During the meeting, Michelle Hess, CASA Tri-County Assistant and Communications Coordinator, addressed the commissioners about the Court-Appointed Special Advocates program. CASA is a national volunteer-based organization that trains volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the court system. Hess mentioned that CASA of Seneca, Sandusky, and Wyandot Counties, a non-profit agency that has been serving abused and neglected children locally since 1990, is in urgent need of volunteers.

Hess highlighted the increasing cases of child abuse locally and emphasized the importance of advocating for and representing these vulnerable children in the court system. She mentioned that volunteers are trained through a 30-hour, five-week training course and are paired with children in need of an advocate. Hess also noted that children who have experienced abuse are statistically more likely to commit crimes as adults.

In the tri-county district, 283 children were served by 59 volunteers last year, with 99 children served by 31 volunteers in Seneca County. However, Hess pointed out that due to a lack of volunteers, 16 children were unserved, resulting in the need for an attorney (Guardian Ad Litem) to provide advocacy at a higher cost to local governments and with less face time with the children.

Hess encouraged those interested in volunteering to email her at or call (567) 804-9990 to learn more or sign up as a volunteer.

In addition, Bryce Riggs, Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, announced during the meeting that the Seneca County Community Guide has been released. Riggs mentioned that the booklet, available throughout Ohio and the local community, provides information not only for tourists but also for residents.

The guide includes a welcoming message from the Seneca County Commissioners on its opening page, expressing excitement in welcoming visitors to Seneca County and encouraging them to explore and experience what the community has to offer. The guide can be viewed in its entirety at

Following an executive session to consider the discipline of a public employee, the commissioners voted to terminate the employment of County Assistant Administrator/Clerk Kylie Garner. The decision was made due to improper conduct during an incident that occurred in March.

In other business, the commissioners approved a resolution to increase the indigent defense counsel hourly rate to $70 an hour, bringing the county’s rate to 57th in the state. The previous rate was $60 an hour.

In new business, the commissioners approved:

  • A $3,310 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund in the Public Assistance line.
  • A $9,715 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund in the Inmate Psychotropic Medication line.
  • An $8 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund in the Vital Statistics line.
  • A $1,200 supplemental appropriation to the General Special Projects Fund for contract services.
  • A $690 supplemental appropriation to the Concealed Carry Fund for software licenses/services.
  • A $9,000 supplemental appropriation to the Delinquent Care and Custody Fund for travel.
  • Appointing David Johnston as the Apiary Inspector for Seneca County.
  • Signing the 2024 Workers’ Compensation Group Retrospective Rating Plan agreement between the county and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.
  • Accepting the bid from A&A Safety for the 2023 Pavement Marking Project. The bid for the project was $84,228.66.
  • Accepting the bid from Allied Construction for the 2023 Seneca County Chip Seal Project. The bid for the project was $625,412.67.
  • Setting date and time for the viewing and public hearing for the potential vacation of an unnamed alley located in the hamlet of Caroline, located in Venice Township.
  • Approving a contract with Oriana House for the PIVOT Program, retroactively to July 1, 2022.
  • Amending the county’s fee schedule for indigent defense cases.
  • Supporting the appointment of J. Dian West to the OSS Solid Waste District Policy Committee Board.
  • Supporting the appointment of Dr. Lora Wolph to the OSS Solid Waste District Policy Committee Board.

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