County aids plan to buy Tasers

Seneca County commissioners Thursday agreed to put $5,500 toward the purchase of Tasers for the sheriff’s office.

The appropriation would be combined with an $8,100 grant and a $900 match from the sheriff’s office to purchase 15 Tasers.

Seneca County Administrator Stacy Wilson said that because the county paid the minimum amount from the Workers Compensation Program, an appropriation to the General Fund could pay for the remaining Tasers and would not have a negative impact on the budget.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller supported the additional funds, saying not having enough tasers could result in higher gun usage.

Due to the revenue brought in by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program, Board President Jeff Wagner supported the appropriation and said he would be willing to consider more appropriations for equipment, such as vehicles, at a later time.”It would be an incentive to continue the program,” Wagner said.

Zoeller was concerned about having enough in the budget to buy new vehicles and said he wanted to be prepared when it happened. They suggested the sheriff’s office estimate when the vehicles would wear out so that funds can be available in the budget.

Wilson said the sheriff’s office is considering buying a 15-passenger van for ICE transportation.

Wagner suggested Sheriff Bill Eckelberry come before commissioners to give more detail on the need for additional vehicles.

Commissioners also were informed by the Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks that the tank underneath the Annex Building is still considered contaminated. The county will be required to go through remediation again under the bureau’s new rules.

Zoeller asked if it were possible to shut down the tank, but the bureau does not allow shutting it down without remediation.

“I don’t like ongoing liabilities,” he said, calling for “any long-term, affordable remedy” to the problem.

In other business, David Graham from Workplace Benefits of Ohio discussed getting a new quote for county insurance. The program would be free and Graham said an audit of utilities could be included.

The program would compare the Workplace Benefits of Ohio coverage through Allstate to the county’s coverage with Colonial and Aflac.

Graham said benefits of the Allstate coverage include a better cancer policy and a payroll deduction for those who do not have short-term disability options.

He asked for the opportunity to share the information with elected officials and employees and would meet with those interested. If more than five people requested the new program, he would seek an open enrollment period.

“We want the county to have the lowest cost, highest value product,” Graham said.

Commissioners suggested sending information to the auditor.

In other news, commissioners approved the Joint County Ditch resolution in accordance with Wyandot County and discussed the county’s involvement with the possible widening of SR 53.

Zoeller said getting a group to present the project to Ohio Department of Transportation would improve the chances of success.

“United, we’ll have a better voice,” he said. Representatives from Wyandot County voiced support for joining forces on the project.

The board is to receive updates on the Wolf Creek Ditch project and decide whether it will be ready to be discussed at its July 16 meeting.

The board is to meet again at 10 a.m. Tuesday. New Riegel is under discussion for the next quarterly meeting location.