Fees set for Wolf Creek project

County Engineer Mark Zimmerman gave a report about the Wolf Creek Ditch Petition at the Seneca County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

Zimmerman said the project includes the west branch of Wolf Creek and if the petition is affirmed, the project could be completed in three to five years.

The project would include eliminating log jams, taking out sand sediment bars and removing dead trees.

He said small log jams and tree removals would occur first, then work would continue on larger obstructions.

He also said this project is not a channelization.

“We are not proposing to channelize,” he said. “This is strictly a flood control measure.”

Sediment bars are to be evaluated later for effective channel flow, and not all will be removed. Zimmerman said this is to allow for necessary permitting.

The affected areas are split into three zones. Landowners within 500 feet of the ditch project will be required to pay $25 per acre; those 500 to 1,000 feet from the ditch will pay $15 per acre; and those beyond 1,000 feet will pay $3 an acre. He also said there is a $10 minimum for the project.

Zimmerman said with the 10 percent maintenance charge, the cost to the majority of landowners will be $11.

Funding for damage also is built into the project.

Zimmerman said landowners also have the opportunity to remove obstructions on their own and they would incur no charge.

Commissioners President Jeff Wagner said the board will have to make a decision regarding payment plans for landowners owing more than $500. Zimmerman recommended making six installments within the three-year time period.

Wagner said he is to give a brief history of the project in addition to Zimmerman’s final report before opening the issue up to public comment at the final hearing next Tuesday.

The board is to affirm or rescind the petition at the meeting.

The information is to be available on the board’s website at Individuals unable to attend the public hearing are encouraged to submit questions in writing to the board.

Wagner said the decision is appealable to common pleas court within 21 days.

Zimmerman also thanked the Seneca County Soil and Water Conservation District for its work on the project.

The final Wolf Creek Ditch Hearing is to be at 10 a.m. at the Public Safety Building at the Seneca County Fairgrounds.

Brad Newman requested permission of the board to complete an appraisal of property within the Clear Free Zone at the Seneca County Airport. The cost of appraisal is a reimbursable expense for the county.

The board is to approve a resolution for funding at a later meeting.

Newman also requested the board’s intervention regarding an open ditch at the airport. He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not want the ditch closed until a private soil scientist is hired to complete a study, but the Federal Aviation Administration requires the ditch to be closed. Newman also said the Soil and Water Conservation District is in support of the FAA’s requirements.

He suggested a meeting with U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, due to concerns of the Corps of Engineers, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the FAA.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller suggested a conference call with Jordan’s office to get direction on the matter.

Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Kelbley also appealed to the board about the 2014 budget of the court and the supplementation from special projects. Kelbley said the issue has occurred for a number of years and suggested making the budgets equal for all courts.

“It really came to the front when the 3 percent was added to the budgets last year and it was 3 percent of general fund money,” he said. “As a result, the amount of money than one (court) received was significantly less than the other based upon one court contributing more special projects money than the other.”

He is to meet with County Administrator Stacy Wilson and Zoeller regarding the budget issue.

The board is to meet in its regular session at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Commissioners office due to the Wolf Creek Petition Hearing in the morning.

In new business, the board approved:

Supplemental appropriations of $11,545 for the Delinquent Care and Custody Fund.

Supplemental appropriations of $1,154.50 for the Juvenile Dispute Resolution Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $2,387.58 within the Community Housing Improvement Program Grant Fund.

An authorization allowing fund transfers of $3,814.56 to be made to the Sewer Construction Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $400 within the General Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $15,000 within the Maintenance and Repair Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $468 for the Revolving Loan Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $658.35 for the VOCA Grant Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $1,500 within the General Fund.

A resolution authorizing the sale of a county-owned 1997 Dodge Caravan and a 2000 Dodge Dakota.

A resolution authorizing a contract service agreement with Dennis A. Smith DBA S&S Painting & Handyman for work to be performed at the Ag Services Building.

A resolution authorizing a contract service agreement with Geophyta Inc. for the Ohio Water Pollution Control Loan Fund-HSTS Program Soil Evaluation & System Design.

Bill vouchers.