Bettsville discusses economic future

BETTSVILLE — Economic development was a major theme at Bettsville’s village council meeting Tuesday night. Members discussed the outlook for local businesses and their ability to help stimulate the economy.

The council was visited by Penelope Christian, a representative of the Seneca Regional Planning Commission. Christian visited to discuss the commission’s Transportation Improvement Priority Plan.

The plan was devised to identify and help with the transportation needs of the county.

“It essentially gives us a better snapshot… of the county,” said Christian. “And it gives us an opportunity to receive more grant funding.”

Grants are a critical source of funding for road projects and other developments for local municipalities. For many governments, funding by grants are a difficult task. 

“It’s harder for a smaller jurisdiction to independently fund road projects, so they heavily rely upon grants to make projects a reality,” Christian said.

Doing so may prove to be more of a challenge than people realize. As one of the smaller communities in Seneca County, towns like Bettsville can be overlooked. Council member Joyce Harrison expressed discontent for the lack of funding, while citing the well-being of other nearby communities.

“We are really struggling,” Harrison said. “These other towns receive grants. We’ve been told we are not eligible. We are kind of left alone out here.”

Later in the meeting, the council was visited by Audrey Flood, a development manager for the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership. Flood visited the council as a way to introduce herself as a resource for rural community and small business development. Flood is hoping to expand her organization’s role in helping improve the local economy, and make sure places like Bettsville are not overlooked.

“I want to gather the economic priorities of nearby villages,” Flood said. “We want to make sure villages are included in the county-wide conversation about economic development.”

Overall, council members were enthusiastic about the idea of economic progress in the village.

“It’s nice to get a voice, and a person we can actually talk to,” said council member Scott Harrison.

The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. September 3rd.