Commissioners talk easements

Black Swamp Conservancy Land Protection Specialist Mike Powell spoke about the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program at the Seneca County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

The voluntary process allows land to be purchased as easements on farms to ensure the property will only be used for farming in the future.

Five Seneca County farms have applied to the program, but commissioners must sign off on the land use for the process to move forward, Powell said. He said the farms have a good chance OF being funded.

No county funding is to be used for the program. Powell said Black Swamp Conservancy is working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, but the conservancy is a private, non-profit organization.

The board approved a resolution saying the land is not needed for any county economic development in the future and will stay as farmland.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller also spoke about several county buildings that need maintenance.

The Seneca County Sheriff’s Department building needs to be power washed and resealed, Zoeller said. Sealing and cleaning the facility, which will cost $5,000 to $10,000, would help preserve it, he said.

He suggested having prisoners complete the work. Zoeller is to look further into the issue.

He also said the Courthouse Annex required cleaning, including washing walls and cleaning the carpet and drapes on all three floors.

He said finding a company that would complete all the necessary work for an affordable cost has been complicated and he is open for suggestions.

The RTA Building also is experiencing leakage and beams may be rusting, Zoeller said. He said a structural engineer is to look into what can be done to fix the situation and offer a cost estimate.

Zoeller also spoke about the proposed relocation of the Board of Elections to the Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services building in the county complex on SR 100, where there is space available.

Zoeller said he is against the move out of downtown unless it is the only alternative. If the building could be improved and put into compliance with the state and not be cost-prohibitive, he would prefer the Board of Elections remain in its current space.

The board is to meet with the Board of Elections to discuss what needs to be done to move forward on the relocation.

The board also discussed moving forward after the presentation of the shared justice center study. Tiffin City Council and commissioners must approve the study. Then, Zoeller suggested, commissioners and the city should look into the cost of building such a center and decide whether to move forward on it.

Commissioner Jeff Wagner said a joint meeting with council and commissioners would be best to discuss the next step in the process.

Zoeller also said local Boy Scouts are holding a fundraiser to organize a trip to Mount Rushmore and Wyoming. They are selling sub sandwiches for $6 each, which are to be delivered March 22. To order, call (419) 448-1761.

In new business, the board approved:

Fund transfers of $7,886.96 to the Maintenance and Repair Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $7,886.96 to CR 38 Bridge Replacement Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $3,600 for the Workforce Investment Act Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $4,500 within the Community Housing Improvement Program Grant Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $10,000 within the Seneca County Sewer District Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $2,000 within the General Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $10,000 for the Seneca County Sewer District.

A resolution authorizing the purchase of four Power Pro XT Cots on behalf of Seneca County EMS and authorizing County Administrator Stacy Wilson to sign documentation.

A resolution approving an extension for the Community Development Block Grant fiscal year 2012 Small Cities Formula Program.

A resolution authorizing the purchase of two 2014 Dodge Chargers through the Ohio Department of Administrative Services – Cooperative Purchasing program from local vendors in lieu of bidding on behalf of the Seneca County Sheriff.