In a rare turn of events, Seneca County has almost $40,000 with no project to call home.
During a board of commissioners meeting Monday morning, Jill Griffin, executive director of Seneca Regional Planning, said the county has about $39,000 of a Community Development Block Grant that may have to be returned for lack of a project.
The funds were originally granted to aid Republic in upgrading the village office to become Americans with Disabilities Act compliant. Republic Village Council members rejected the grant Aug. 6, saying they could do the project for a lower price, which includes funding for engineering, materials and labor.
Griffin said there is no penalty to the county for not using the funds, but said "it's just unfortunate that money is not going to be used in the county."
Griffin said the funds can be used for other CDBG projects approved in 2011, which only include street improvements in Bettsville. The funds can be used to offset cost overrun, but the parameters of the project have been set.
Other applications for the funding were submitted by New Riegel and Seneca County Agency Transportation, but the project deadline has passed. Griffin said the entities did not reapply in 2012.
"I don't recall anyone ever turning the money back in my time on board," Commissioner Dave Sauber said.
"It seems to me we had some minor amounts here or there, and we used them on other (projects), but this just so happened in a year where we only did two projects. There has been in the past where we've done four or five," said Board President Ben Nutter, who called the situation "unfortunate."
Commissioner Jeff Wagner also said it was unfortunate the county cannot use the $39,000, but added he would like Bettsville use as much of the excess funding as possible.
In another matter, County Administrator Stacy Wilson said through meetings with Corporate One, a presentation Guardian Health Insurance showed the company could provide benefits to county by taking over health insurance administration.
Wilson said the company is to create a website, for employees to use, for a one-time fee of $1,500, paid from the insurance fund. Guardian now administers dental and vision benefits for employees, and the company has matched quotes for life insurance, now handled through Lincoln Financial Group, and the flex spending accounts, now handled through MedBen.
Wilson said there are to be no changes in benefits, only administration. She said the change could save money and lessen delays.
She added employees who previously did not enroll in life insurance also would have another opportunity to join.
In old business, Wilson said she received word from John Larson of Squire Sanders, county bond council, that a $480,000 capital improvement note from 2011 is to mature in November. Commissioners agreed to have Larson prepare paperwork to reissue the bonds, which is run through the Seneca County Treasurer's Office with a 2-percent interest rate.
Also under old business, Nutter said Tiffin Aire requested three trees that fall within the Federal Aviation Administration's object-free area be removed at the Seneca County Airport. The cost of removal is about $4,000, which is to be taken out of airport funds.
Sauber commented that the cost was high, but agreed it is necessary.
Nutter said he was told by Brad Newman, airport manager, that new business Rural King has been regularly using the airport.
Also, commissioners have an exit interview today with the Ohio auditor's office. Wilson and Wagner are to attend.
Nutter said he preferred the meeting be held as a public forum, adding he had some concerns with the process and cost to the county. Wagner said he had no concerns with the meeting not being a public meeting. The meeting is allowable, according to the Ohio Revised Code.
The board canceled a meeting scheduled for Thursday. Commissioners are to meet at 9 a.m. Sept. 18 at the commissioners office for a short business meeting, then go into recess and reconvene at 10 a.m. at the Public Safety Building in regards to the Wolf Creek Ditch Petition.