Commissioners discuss regional planning board

Commissioners discussed the future of the Seneca County Regional Planning Commission during the board’s first work session, which took place before the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday morning.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller said he would like to see the committee move toward a more specific goal, rather than try to do many different things.

“I certainly see the merit in regional planning,” he said. “I think what we have though, is we have a situation where we got a mouse that is running around with a thousand different directions, and it’s tough to achieve anything.”

Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Jill Griffin gave an overview of the organization for a group of elected officials including commissioners, Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, County Engineer Mark Zimmerman, County Auditor Julie Adkins and others at the informal meeting.

Griffin said the regional planning commission brings together leaders of Tiffin, Fostoria, Seneca County, villages and townships.

She said the commission is responsible for many things, including maintenance and distribution of the county’s geographic information system, enforcement of subdivision regulations, administration of the Community Development Block Grant program, assisting the county’s economy through economic development grants and more.

Zoeller said his goal is to get full value for the taxpayer dollar, and said it would be better for the regional planning commission to have a more defined goal.

The regional planning commission helps townships and villages with grants, but Montz said the city does not work much with the commission; it works more with Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp.

He suggested the regional planning commission board, of which he is chairman, look into merging with SIEDC, not only as a way to cut costs but also to get Griffin and Karen Bowers, SIEDC director of development to work more closely together.

During the commissioners meeting, the board looked more into changing the county’s vacation time payout for retiring employees.

Commissioners agreed to reduce employee carryover of vacation time from two years to one year, which would put the county at the state minimum.

County administrator Stacy Wilson said county employees are entitled to payout of unused vacation time, but by reducing the amount of vacation time that can be carried over, the county can save money on payouts.

Commissioner Jeff Wagner said the one-year carryover is common in private industry.

The policy change is expected to be voted on at a future meeting.

In other business, commissioners received three bids regarding HVAC and control systems in county buildings.

Vaughn Industries bid $621,000, Air Force One bid $605,523 and Warner Mechanical bid $525,390.

The bids are to be reviewed by Palmer Energy, and the company will give the county its recommendation on who should receive the bid.

Also at the meeting, Zoeller said he is going to contact Rep. Jim Jordan about moving his regional office to the vacant Fifth Third bank building on South Washington Street.

In new business, the board approved of:

A supplemental appropriation of $59,837 for Water Pollution Control Loan Fund for 2013.

An appropriation adjustment of $74.55 for Soil and Water Conservation District.

A supplemental appropriation of $3,284.89 for the Differential Response Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $20,000 within the Maintenance and Repair Fund.