Council voices opposition to county

Mayor Aaron Montz and several members presented Tiffin City Council’s resolution urging the Seneca County Board of Commissioners to keep the Seneca County Board of Elections in the city at the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday.

In public comment, Montz said the board of elections brings people to downtown Tiffin and stimulates the economy.

He also said the city is willing to work with commissioners on changes to the County Services Building that would help keep the board there, including changes to parking, sidewalks or supplementing the cost of needed work.

“At the end of the day, it’s not which option is cheaper. It doesn’t always mean the best thing for the city of Tiffin, for the citizens, and for the entire county,” he said.

“Sometimes we have to look at the long term, the big picture, of what effects this may have if (the commissioners) move yet another office out of downtown Tiffin.”

Councilman Rich Focht said commissioners would have to factor in the greatest economic impact. The building could be used as a retail location, but the board of elections generates traffic and a new business will not have the same impact, he said.

Councilman Steve Lepard asked whether the cost to move the board of elections out of the city has been considered.

Councilman Jim Roberts said the vote last night was unanimous and although the potential loss of income tax was about $3,000, it still was a significant amount for the city. He also said the board of elections serves the whole county, but commissioners should not overlook that Tiffin is the county seat.

To help with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility, David Koehl said commissioners could apply for money from the Help America Vote Act to make the building compliant, but commissioners must apply as soon as possible.

Koehl Saturday was recommended to fill the board of elections seat open upon the resignation of Janet Leahy.

He said the board of elections also is a polling place, which also requires the building to be ADA-compliant.

He also said to take the elevator to the basement, individuals must go outside and to the building’s back entrance.

Seneca County Board of Elections members were not at the commissioners meeting Tuesday.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller said he was disappointed the board did not present a list of needs and potential changes to the building.

At previous meetings, commissioners have been made aware that the board of elections requires ADA accessibility, additional space and additional security.

Zoeller said after speaking to a local contractor, making the building ADA-compliant would cost about $7,500. The quote was for transforming two parking spaces in the County Services Building parking lot into one ADA accessible spot and cutting out a portion of the wall.

Commissioners President Holly Stacy suggested discussing the issue further when the board of elections is fully staffed and Koehl’s nomination has been accepted.

Stacy also said commissioners have received no information from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office regarding ADA concerns at the building.

In other business, Earl Reid from Palmer Energy and Eric VanKirk from Time Warner Cable spoke to commissioners about potential changes to the county’s telecommunications system.

VanKirk said if the county connects the system under one provider for Internet and phone services, it could save about $2,500.

The county’s current provider, AT&T, does not have an accurate count of the number of phone lines, VanKirk said. By working with one provider, he said an accurate list of existing, active phone numbers could be completed.

Reid said to connect and monitor all of the county buildings’ controls, the county would have to install a new fiber system.

VanKirk said the network would connect 13 locations with a secure fiber line that has a guaranteed up time of nearly 100 percent, better than the current system.

If one fiber line goes down, other buildings would not be affected.

The county would have monthly service fees if the fiber network is added.

Commissioners are to consider a resolution at the next meeting to switch to one provider. They also are to make a decision regarding switching to the fiber system after meeting with county employees who would be affected by the new network.

Seneca County Clerk of Courts Mary Ward announced she is to retire May 30 after 26 years of service. She thanked the board for the opportunity to serve and recommended the county consider hiring Civil Bailiff and Court Administrator for Common Pleas Court 2 Jean Eckelberry as the new clerk.

In new business, the board approved:

A supplemental appropriation of $335 for the VAP Court Costs and Misc. Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $1,100 for the VOCA Expansion Project Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $367.69 for the Sheriff Rotary Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $3,000 for the Law Enforcement Trust Agency Fund 2014.

An appropriation adjustment of $611.31 within the General Fund.

A resolution rejecting all bids received April 14 for a precast concrete box bridge project.

A resolution setting 10:15 a.m. May 13 at the commissioners office as the time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the 2014 Seneca Count Chip Seal Program.

A resolution setting 10:15 a.m. May 6 at the commissioners office as the time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the TR 75 precast reinforced concrete box project.

A resolution authorizing the Seneca County engineer to post a change of a bridge legal load limit on CR 30.

A resolution authorizing commissioners to enter into a contract with Prestress Services Industries LLC for the TR 102 prestressed box beams project.

A resolution authorizing the cellular contract with Alltel Wireless on behalf of the Seneca County EMS.

Bill vouchers.