Zoeller puts brakes on $5 license fee

Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller pulled his support from the $5 permissive tax proposal Wednesday night during a Seneca Regional Planning Commission meeting.

Zoeller, chairman of regional planning’s highways and transportation committee, proposed the fee to the commissioners in April. He said his fellow commissioners brought up some valid objections most notable being fairness in who would be taxed the $5.

“Because of the unfairness of (the permissive tax), that I believe is a valid claim, we need to look at some other form of funding this,” he said. “I’m not pulling away from the thoughts and I don’t believe this committee is pulling away from the thoughts that we need to do something for safety and economic development, but how we’re going to fund it is another issue.”

Zoeller said it is imperative to keep the SR 53 coalition, which is an alliance consisting of Seneca, Wyandot, Ottawa and Sandusky counties, strong.

“We need to establish some sort of funding process that we can bag some money, so eventually we can go to have some improvements made,” he said. “The $5 permissive tax as it stands, I can’t support it anymore because it’s too fragmented.”

He said the North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments will have meetings with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the SR 53 coalition to get more information on getting a study for the SR 53 project.

“Once we’ve gotten a commitment from them and we know exactly how much money they’re looking for, we can find out where we can get money from at that time, instead of grasping at straws not knowing how much the money is,” Aaron Montz, president of regional planning, said.

In other business, the commission discussed the county’s geographic information system.

Lori Zoeller, chairwoman of regional planning’s technical advisory committee, said her committee had talked about the possibilities of hiring a GIS specialist to help with multiple departments.

Lori Zoeller said the software for the GIS would cost about $8,000-$10,000, training would cost about $10,000 and the GIS specialist’s salary would be about $60,000 annually.

She said a big concern is finding the funds for this position.

Montz suggested looking into the IT loan that North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments received from the Local Government Innovation Fund to help fund the GIS.