County backs transportation survey

Seneca County commissioners agreed Tuesday morning to contribute funding for a study to create a public transportation plan for the city of Tiffin and surrounding areas.

Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Charlene Watkins, who is spearheading the effort, said the plan will design a bus route. The plan is to include where bus stops would be located, what time stops would be made and how the project will be funded. The board approved spending up to $5,000 for the study, which is to cost about $27,941.

Watkins said the city has committed $15,000 and Seneca County School of Opportunity has committed $2,000.

She said she asked Tiffin and Heidelberg universities to help fund the rest of the study.

Watkins said if the plan is funded and an operation is established, it could free Seneca Crawford Area Transportation to circulate further into the county. She said this could bring tax benefits to the county and the city by bringing people to work or to dine and shop, who wouldn’t have been able to due to transportation issues.

Commissioner Holly Stacy asked what operational and equipment costs the project could have associated with it.

Watkins said she was unsure of those costs, but said there is grant money available and several entities in the county would like to see the project move forward.

Commissioner Shayne Thomas said he’d like to see the study funded, but he and the other commissioners agreed it would not mean the county would enact the plan.

“It isn’t a commitment to funding the operations of the program,” Thomas said.

In other news, commissioners accepted the resignation of Emergency Management Agency Administrator Dan Stahl.

Stahl, who has served the county for more than 30 years, retired in 2015 before coming back that year at a lower salary to train other employees.

Thomas thanked Stahl for his service to the community but declined to offer a reason for the resignation.

Stahl declined comment Tuesday evening.

In other business, Commissioner Mike Kerschner said the Lady Justice statue that is to be placed atop the cupola tower at Seneca County Justice Center is ready to be shipped to Tiffin.

He said it is possible the cupola and the statue could arrive at about the same time.

County Administrator Stacy Wilson said a recommendation was received on bids for audiovisual equipment for the justice center from the project’s architect, Silling Architects.

She said the first choice was a $212,000 bid from Electronic Specialty Co., of Dunbar, West Virginia. The second choice was Sound Solutions, of Tiffin, with a $250,000 bid.

Although commissioners did not make a decision, they are considering choosing Sound Solutions because maintenance needs would be easy to handle.

Stacy said the cost difference was significant.

Wilson said she would talk with Silling about it and would see if maintenance would be included in the Sound Solutions contract.

Also during the meeting, commissioners heard from Crawford County Commissioner Doug Weisenauer, one of 10 candidates being vetted by a state panel for the vacant 87th Ohio House District seat.

Kerschner, Thomas and Stacy signed endorsement letters for Weisenauer.

“We’re in your corner on this one,” Kerschner said.

Weisenauer, who lives near the Seneca-Crawford county border, said he was a township trustee before serving as county commissioner. He is in his third term as a commissioner.

Thomas said he serves on a board with Weisenauer.

“It is helpful that he has township and county experience. It shortens the learning curve. He does a nice job,” he said. “I also think he will spend time in Seneca County.”

Wes Goodman, R-Cardington, had represented the district but resigned last month after being accused of inappropriate behavior in his Columbus office.

The panel deciding on the appointment is to meet early next month. A new representative is to be sworn in Jan. 17.

The district includes the southwest portion of Seneca County, part of Marion County and all of Wyandot, Crawford and Morrow counties.

During new business, the board approved:

• Tanya Hemmer’s resignation as assistant administrator for the commissioners effective Dec. 29. Commissioners thanked Hemmer for her service.

• The purchase of one acre of land at 2482 W. CR 52 to remove trees to improve long-term safety at Seneca County Airport.

• A $2,000 supplemental appropriation to the Juvenile Mediation Special Projects Fund.

• A $3,683.90 appropriation adjustment within the County Sewer District Fund.

• A $21,391.62 supplemental appropriation to the County Sales Tax Bond Fund.

• A $1,500 appropriation adjustment within the General Fund.

• A $22,000 supplemental appropriation to the Sewer Replacement and Improvement Fund.

• An $8,500 appropriation adjustment within the General Fund.

• A $1,000 fund advance from the General Fund to the Impaired Driving Enforcement Program Fund.

• A $751 supplemental appropriation to the Probate Special Projects Fund.

• A $1,103 supplemental appropriation to the Impaired Driving Enforcement Program Fund.

• A $6,500 appropriation to fund equipment to help commissioners go “paperless” in their office.

• Reappointing Paul Harrison and Kerschner to the WSOS Community Action Commission for one-year terms.

• Four collective bargaining contracts with all entities at Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.

• A contract with the Lucas County Board of Commissioners for the Lucas County coroner to perform necessary autopsies and toxicology reports in 2018.

• A contract for medical services with Dr. Chris Sears on behalf of Seneca County Sheriff’s Office.

• A contract with Wyandot County for the receipt, custody and care of Wyandot County juveniles on behalf of Seneca County Youth Center in 2018.