Zoeller hears Hopewell trustees’ comments

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP – Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller had a question for the Hopewell Township trustees Monday evening: “How can the commissioners help you as a township, as trustees?”

Zoeller told the trustees he was there to learn. He asked board members about their relationship with the Seneca County Regional Planning Commission, asking how the township benefits from that relationship. He told the board he was looking at the budget given to Regional Planning versus the services it provides.

Trustees cited coordination of the Bascom area sewer project, grant writing and assistance with a railroad crossing as examples of help they have received. Trustee Lori Zoeller responded to a question from Fred Zoeller regarding grants, saying there used to be a lot of grant writing buy the director of Seneca Regional Planning, but lately there have been fewer grants for which to apply.

“I envision the role of SRP as assessing possible grants then going to the township to see if they want to apply,” Fred Zoeller said.

Trustee Jim Clouse told Fred Zoeller he believed the most pressing issue is the support of the EMS program in light of reduction of local government funding from the state. Clouse said the loss of local government funds has hampered the funding of ambulances and other equipment. The board explained the relationship of the county and townships in keeping EMS service viable. There are seven ambulances operated by the various EMS services, which rotate in and out of service with two backups.

“It has always been my contention that we have to prepare, with less money coming from the government we need to look at taking care of ourselves,” said Fred Zoeller, who asked if other revenue sources had been investigated and grants sought through regional planning.

Hopewell and Loudon townships formed a joint fire district, according to board chairman Dick Gosche, to allow a supporting levy to be put on the ballot as well as providing liability for responders. The county provides billing for runs, but does not even cover half the cost. Fred Zoeller said there is a need to see how much money will be needed to support EMS, and how commissioners can fulfill the need as it is important for the county. Fred Zoeller said casino revenue stream is “not coming in like we anticipated,” and said other revenue sources must be looked at.

Clouse told Fred Zoeller the county EMS coordinators want to have a meeting with commissioners to discuss concerns.

Fred Zoeller also said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz has formed a task force to investigate the possibility of a loop road from SR 53 to US 224. He said such a road would have a major impact on Hopewell Township, with 95 percent being built in the township. He said he would like to assess the interest in the manufacturing base for the road as it would help economic development. Gosche said he would have to look at more definite plans before forming an opinion. Fred Zoeller said he would welcome input from township residents.

After an executive session which consisted of

interviewing zoning inspector candidates, Gosche offered the position to township resident Ryan Sendelbach, who accepted. Gosche said the applicants were excellent candidates.

Resident Ed Borer addressed the board regarding rehabilitation of a home on Oak Street in Bascom which suffered a fire nearly a year ago. Borer questioned if any part of $14,000 held in escrow could be used to help cover a balance of the repairs. Gosche said chances are slim, adding it could start a trend of others asking for the same consideration. He said escrow money would only be released when the project is completed, which Borer estimated to be at the end of March.

Trustees are to meet at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the township maintenance garage.