EMS director: Villages, townships work on staffing

Emergency Medical Service Director Ken Majors spoke about the county’s EMS system – and how communities are working toward providing enough staffing to run the service – at the Seneca County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday.

Area townships and villages still are discussing joint systems, Majors said. Attica, Venice Township and Reed Township are discussing creating a district and is expected to merge around July 1.

New Riegel and Big Springs and Seneca townships are looking into a similar system, while the Bascom and Hopewell Township joint system is working well, Major said.

Majors said many areas are concerned with the county coming down on them, but he said that was not the case. Due to generational change, many townships have lost knowledge of their responsibilities, and it was not their fault, Majors said.

“Over the years, it was always taken care of,” Majors said. “Once you sign an agreement and everything’s working the way it’s supposed to, you very easily forget what you ever did to make that happen.”

Majors also said Adams Township, Green Springs and Pleasant Township are looking into a private ambulance system. He said he appreciated the work of private services, but thought community-based EMS works better in Seneca County, as it is focused on emergency services instead of transportation.

Each township has the opportunity and choice in providing emergency medical services, Majors said.

Another of Major’s concerns was the cost of a private system.

“We just want what’s best for getting the services in all the communities countywide,” Board President Holly Stacy said. “We want to continue to be part of it, but we can’t make those decisions for them.”

The board is to meet with representatives from Scipio Township and Republic at 8 a.m. June 2 at 302 Madison St., Republic, to discuss the EMS system for their area.

The board also plans to contact inactive communities to get their positions on the issue.

Ohio Department of Transportation District Two Deputy Director Todd Audet gave an update about ODOT’s work in the district.

He said this year, improvements to the turnpike were a priority for ODOT and for Gov. John Kasich.

“This year alone, after the fiscal year … we should have around $300 million worth of construction in our district as a result of the Ohio Turnpike Infrastructure Commission Initiative,” Audet said.

In September, the commission approved funding for 10 projects in northern Ohio near the turnpike funded by bond proceeds from Gov. Kasich’s Ohio Jobs and Transportation Plan.

In District Two, Interstate 75 in Hancock and Wood counties is being widened to the Michigan border. Construction is to begin the first week in June.

“Without this money, we wouldn’t see the widening until 2027, if ever,” Audet said.

With the funding, ODOT also is to reconstruct I-75 in downtown Toledo. Non-turnpike improvements include improving safety on Interstate 475 and SR 23 and improvements to McCord Road.

Audet said $2.5 billion worth of work is to be completed in this construction season. It was the largest allocation ever and would eliminate decade-long waits for improvements.

Audet said ODOT would continue to emphasize improvements to I-75.

District Two Construction Administrator Dennis Charvat said in Seneca County, projects include resurfacing of US 224 between SR 67 and SR 100, a bridge replacement on SR 12 and improvements to SR 12 between Bettsville and SR 53.

District Two Public Information Officer Theresa Pollick also explained OhGo.com, which provides real-time conditions of high-traffic areas in the region.

The website is updated every 12 hours and, with the implementation of a freeway management system, can check the average speed of the area and whether traffic is moving.

It would be helpful during construction season and winter, Pollick said.

Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Jill Griffin also explained the Community Development Block Grant applications for this year.

The county is to receive $108,000 in formula allocations and can apply for additional, competitive grants up to $300,000.

Fostoria is applying for the neighborhood revitalization competitive grant, and if it is not accepted, the city has requested to remodel the existing restroom in the Municipal Building in order to comply with accessability requirements.

As the county is required to complete a project in Fostoria, if the competitive grant is not accepted, the county must choose the alternate project as the Municipal Building improvements.

The state also would score the competitive project higher if the county allocates 15-20 percent – between $16,200 and $21,600 – of its formula allocation toward the competitive grant, Griffin said. If the competitive grant is not funded, Commissioner Jeff Wagner suggested giving the 20-percent formula allocation to Fostoria for the Municipal building improvements, leaving $86,400 to be allocated towards the County Services Building elevator. Current estimates total the project at about $236,000.

“I think this is something we need to make a priority,” Wagner said.

Griffin is to look into estimates on the elevator and the board is to look into approving the projects at a later date.

In other business, the board approved:

* An appropriation adjustment of $4,000 within the General Fund.

* A supplemental appropriation of $55,800 for the Public Assistance Fund.

* A supplemental appropriation of $90,000 for the Workforce Investment Act Fund.

* A supplemental appropriation of $11,960.42 to the Law Library Resources Board Fund.

* A resolution authorizing a contract service agreement with Vanguard-Sentinel Career Center for GED Instruction Services for Seneca County Jail Inmates.

* A resolution reappointing Dee Frankart to the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties.

* A resolution authorizing a contract with Facility Dude for maintenance management software.

* A resolution authorizing County Administrator Stacy Wilson to sign the agreements with Time Warner Cable for phone services pending prosecutor’s approval.

* Bill vouchers.