Tech plan presented to county

Representatives from the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center spoke about an information technology consolidation project at the Seneca County commissioners meeting Tuesday.

Superintendent Jim Lahoski said NCOESC received a $100,000 grant to complete a study for a countywide fiber optic system. After comparing costs for hard fiber optics to air fiber optics, the NCOESC decided wireless was less expensive and more effective.

NCOESC Network Specialist Brian Rupp said the goal is to save Tiffin and Seneca County money on Internet service. Each building has an Internet provider and must purchase IP addresses to communicate with other buildings, Rupp said.

The new system would bring everyone onto one system, which would allow the city and county to share bandwidth, improve security, eliminate individual fees and eliminate several IP addresses, he said.

If the wireless system is placed strategically on towers in the county, the range can be up to 60 miles, Rupp said. Storms should not affect the system.

The city and county could back up information across the wireless system without paying for additional IP addresses for physical back-up locations, Rupp said.

He said with the wireless system, users would get Internet service from Time Warner Cable or Bascom Communications. He said if one provider goes down, all government entities can receive Internet from the other provider.

He said all data would be separated by firewalls, protecting it from other departments.

Rupp also said a room at NCOESC is being converted into a server room, allowing for more system security and additional back-up.

He said NCOESC also backs up information to its Marion campus, providing an additional location for information.

County Administrator Stacy Wilson said the county pays $1,500 a month for Internet service, while Lahoski said the city pays $500 per month to Time Warner Cable.

Lahoski said over time, private businesses could join the network. The server could handle many businesses, Rupp said.

Lahoski said the ESC can apply for a no-interest loan of up to $500,000. The Internet project is estimated to cost about $350,000.

The cost to participants would be determined after looking into existing county infrastructure.

North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments Director John Davoli said site visits are to be completed to compile more information.

In other business, Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Jill Griffin updated commissioners about the Community Development Block Grant process and explained several issues with the proposed application.

A total of $108,000 is available, and about $21,600 is to be allocated for administration and fair housing, leaving $86,400 available for projects.

Griffin said Fostoria does not have the money to provide the required matching funds for either of its projects. She said that after discussion, Fostoria decided to opt out of the competitive grants for this year and plans to reevaluate possible projects for next year.

She said if Fostoria waives its CDBG funding for the year, it would eliminate a requirement that the county have a project in Fostoria.

In another matter involving CDBG funding, commissioners discussed a possible elevator maintenance project at the County Services Building.

TFC Inc. Architect Michael L. Arnold said the elevator, installed in 1948, requires maintenance. He said the best option would be to complete repairs on the geared elevator for about $208,000. He said the estimate was a worst case scenario and bids could come in lower.

He also said the project could be split into several years, but there would be a 25 to 30 percent increase in price.

The board agreed the county should apply for CDBG funding for elevator maintenance and would provide matching funds from the General Fund.

If the project is not accepted by the state, commissioners agreed splitting the remaining $86,400 between Fostoria’s and New Riegel’s proposed projects would be a viable alternative.

Griffin said New Riegel already has pledged additional funding and said she would speak again to Fostoria about matching funds. She is to have a second public hearing regarding CDBG funding and is to prepare a resolution for commissioners to consider.

In another matter, EMS Director Ken Majors introduced Assistant EMS?Director Danielle Gebauer to commissioners. Gebauer has worked as a paramedic and as assistant coordinator in the Bascom Ambulance District.

“She is very suitable for this position,” he said. “She’s a very local person, she knows the system very well. … To me, that’s very important considering what we’re trying to do in keeping with the community-based ambulance system model.”

The board approved a resolution hiring Gebauer. She thanked the board for the opportunity and is to start Monday.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller also suggested Board President Holly Stacy sit on the shared justice center committee.

In other business, the board approved:

A supplemental appropriation of $5,314.14 for the Septic Loan Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $414,118.74 to the M&R Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $500 for the Title Administration Fund.

An appropriation adjustment of $332,000 within the M&R Fund.

A supplemental appropriation of $1,000 for the General Fund for 2014.

A resolution granting the vacation/abandonment of two portions of West Street and one portion of South Street in West Lodi in Reed Township.

A resolution setting 10:15 a.m. June 24 at the commissioners office as the time, date and place to receive sealed bids for the CR 5, CR 13 and CR 19 pavement resurfacing project.

A resolution hiring Melissa Payne as an intermittent paramedic for the Seneca County EMS Response Unit effective June 3.