Commissioners hear GLCAP update

Ruthann House (second from left) and Seneca County commissioners (from left) Mike Kerschner, Shayne Thomas and Holly Stacy stand while children Aria and Emelia Long, daughters of Karin Long, and Clayton Stone, son of Erin Harding, sit in their seats during Thursday’s meeting. The children took part in the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership preschool program.

Seneca County commissioners heard an update from the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership during their meeting Thursday.

Formerly WSOS Community Action Commission, the agency changed its name last fall, said President RuthAnn House. Because May is Community Action Month, she said she and her staff are visiting the counties the organization serves.

“We are your community action commission,” she said.

GLCAP has been serving northwest Ohio for more than 50 years, originally in Wood, Sandusky, Ottawa and Seneca counties and more recently in a larger geographical area with community assistance programs.

Terry Jacobs, administrator of the Community Housing Improvement Program, said the agency has $1 million to spend in Seneca County, including Tiffin and Fostoria, to preserve older houses and make “bring them up to code.”

He said the grant in its early stages and interested people can fill out a pre-application on the website, www.glcap.org.

Jacobs said he also handles GLCAP’s weatherization program and is seeking projects.

The commissioners also heard about children’s centers in Tiffin and Fostoria, which provide programs for kids from birth to age 5.

House said anyone who might be eligible for GLCAP services should contact the agency at (800) 775-9767 or visit glcap.org.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner, who serves on the agency’s board, said GLCAP employs 400 people in a wide variety of services.

“We certainly appreciate their ability when it comes to grant writing,” he said. “This has been a good relationship.”

Another board member, David Zak, said the agency is one of the three largest community action commissions with a budget of $30 million and reaches people locally, statewide, nationally and globally.

“It’s an asset and their wonderful people,” he said.

Also Thursday, the commissioners hosted a public hearing on Title XX funds for the Seneca County Department of Job & Family Services.

A hearing is required every two years for the program that provides federal funds through the Social Security Act.

Beth Anway of DJFS said the money is used mainly to fund children’s protective services in the areas of case management, prevention and intervention. DJFS serves about 2,690 people annually and funding for 2020 and 2021 is to be $728,542 each year.

A bid opening took place for a project to widen and resurface CR 590 and TR 26. The county engineer estimated the project would cost $1,258,670. Bids were received from Gerken Paving Inc., Napoleon, for $1,105,197.60 and from M&B Asphalt, Tiffin, for $1,171,066.70. The bids are to be sent to the county engineer’s office for a recommendation.

Commissioner Holly Stacy reported on a meeting township trustees concerning the direction the county’s five ambulance districts might take.

“We started down the path of joint ambulance districts in 2013 with compensating the volunteers,” said Emergency Services Director Ken Majors Thursday afternoon.

In Bascom, he said volunteers are paid $3.50 per hour while they’re on call.

With more calls, fewer volunteers and older volunteers, Majors said he sees a future need for more paid EMTs operating from the county’s five joint ambulance districts.

Through discussions, Stacy said it has been determined that a countywide system that included Tiffin and Fostoria would not work because they already have their own systems and there would be issues with unions as well as tax payers paying for a levy when they already have service.

Discussions are ongoing about methods that could be used to revamp EMS service.

In her report, county Administrator Stacy Wilson said repaving the Cemetery Lane project has started.

She said she met with DLZ, an architectural and engineering firm, about improving the entrance and other changes to the Seneca County General Health District building. The company quoted the job at $24,500. The commissioners are to consider the project later.

During public comment, Jeremy Speer, new publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune introduced himself.

“I look forward to serving the community through the paper,” Speer said.

The commissioners approved:

* A $35,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund to then be moved to the Capital Improvements Fund.

* A $25,000 supplemental appropriation to the Capital Improvements Fund in the Public Safety line for security system upgrades at the Public Safety Building, 126 Hopewell Ave.

* A contract with Pivot Point Partners LLC on behalf of the Seneca County Auditor’s Office.

* Reappointing Heidi Stephey to the Allen Eiry Advisory Committee as the commissioners’ designee for a five-year term.

They also read proclamations for National EMS Week, which is this week, and thanked all volunteer emergency medical technicians in the county, and canceled their June 6 meeting because of scheduling conflicts.

The next meeting is at 10 a.m. May 30 at their office, 111 Madison St.