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Commissioners pass resolution in support of Second Amendment

Seneca County commissioners passed a resolution in support of second-amendment rights at their meeting Thursday, and supported placing a school resource officer at Hopewell-Loudon school.

The resolution was considered at the request of Ohio Stands United, an organization that works to preserve and defend the Bill of Rights in the Ohio and United States Constitutions.

“The Board of Commissioners of Seneca County, Ohio are committed to uphold the Second Amendment in order to preserve for the citizens of Seneca County, Ohio their rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America,” the resolution states.

It also states the commissioners “oppose any additional infringements on the rights of law-abiding citizens” and authorizes the clerk to send a copy of the resolution to state legislators.

Ed Clark, spokesman for the group, said the commissioners of 20 of Ohio’s 88 counties already had approved the resolution, and more are pending.

According to its website, Ohio Stands United educates and trains citizens to be effective communicators, knowledgeable in public policy and in organizing efforts, to safeguard the principles and ideals of the founding documents.

Regarding the school resource office, the commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding regarding a school resource officer for Hopewell-Loudon school district.

Capt. David Pahl of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office said school officials reached out to the sheriff’s office for assistance and the school board has agreed to pay $19,000 for the last three months of the school year.

Pahl said the plan is to place an experienced officer in the school and hire another deputy for the sheriff’s office “so you get a seasoned veteran going to the school to protect our children.”

Pahl said he is applying for a federal grant to cover the cost of hiring a new law enforcement officer for next school year.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner asked how providing funds for an officer for one district would affect other schools in the county.

Also Thursday, the commissioners heard an update from Beth Diesch, team leader for Seneca Conservation District.

She reviewed the district employees and their duties, looked back and 2019 and looked ahead to 2020.

“One of the bragging points I want to point is that Seneca County producers had no pollution complaints last year,” she said. “They’ve been doing a great job of keeping those waterways clean in 2019.”

She said she expects that to continue this year.

The second “bragging point,” she said, was the Maumee River watershed was considered the top priority for H2Ohio funds during the first year of the state program.

“Sandusky River watershed farmers have been responsible producers for many years,” she said. “They have a good stewardship attitude.”

Diesch said H2Ohio funds will become available for Seneca County farmers in the state’s next fiscal year, which begins in July.

She said H2Ohio is meant to be a long-term program for reducing the amount of phosphorus ending up in Lake Erie.

“There’s no way we’ll be able to reduce it in one year,” she said. But putting program in place now might mean a cleaner Lake Erie in 15 years.

“This is important for the whole state and all of our water resources,” she said.

After a presentation from Palmer Energy, the commissioners amended a previous motion changing the term of its next energy contract through the County Commissioners Association of Ohio from 36 to 24 months.

Part of the presentation was in regard to CCAO plans to install a solar array – possibly in southern Ohio – to supply some of the consortium’s energy needs, and prices might decrease after the project is completed in two years. The commissioners decided to further discuss whether to joint he solar energy portion at a later date.

The commissioners opened bids for a one-year lease of 147 acres of county-owned farmland in Eden Township. Five bids received were: Kingland Farms, $153 per acre; Fred Schoen, of Republic, $288.50 per acre; Wise Farms LLC, $220 per acre; GD Century Farms, $236.50 per acre; and JLZ Family Farms, $175 per acre.

Last growing season, the land was leased for $225 per acre. The commissioners are to review the bids and notify the winner.

They also opened two bids for a 64-passenger school bus on behalf of the Seneca County Opportunity Center from Cardinal Bus Sales and Services, Lima, $94,155, and Rush Trucking Center, $98,958.

County Administrator Stacy Wilson reviewed with the commissioners the status of a list of capital improvement projects at county-owned properties. She said the list was mainly repairs awaiting attention, and she wanted to keep them in front of the commissioners for possible prioritizing.

The commissioners said funds in the capital budget would not cover the list of needs, but they could choose a few projects to work on.

Kerschner said some of the priorities might depend on the results of the facilities master plan, which is under way.

After a discussion with Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Charlene Watkins regarding the budget and carryover of her office’s administration of the county’s sewer district, the commissioners approved a motion for a one-year contract with Seneca Regional Planning Commission, decreasing the amount received for administration from 10% to 8%.

The contract is pending approval by the planning commission’s executive board.

The commissioners also approved the countywide master plan with a wording change for the section regarding renewable fuels.

The section it to say, “There has been a significant amount of debate among Seneca County residents related to alternative energy projects. The county is not opposed to alternative energy but reserves the right to review each project on its individual merits or lack thereof. The county should carefully consider its options and weigh the benefits and consequences of any actions at its disposal.”

The commissioners went into executive session to discuss pending litigation.

In addition, they approved:

• Changing their March 19 meeting to 10 a.m. March 17.

• Approved $10,000 to upgrade security at the Seneca County Museum.

• A $30,000 supplemental appropriation to the Ditch Maintenance Fund for equipment.

• A $5,000 supplemental appropriation to the Special Projects Fund for a contract service. Indigent guardianship

• A $345,797.57 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for contract services. For taxiway at airport

• A fund transfer to the Public Assistance Fund of $32,723.86. JFS

• A fund transfer from the Local Government Fund Alternate Formula to the Ambulance Service

Fund of $320,000.

• A fund transfer from the Local Government Fund Alternate Formula to the EMA Fund of $70,000.

• A fund transfer to the Justice Center Operating Fund of $132,000.

• An $84,000 fund transfer to the Bond Retirement Fund from General Fund.

• Establishing the Federal Equitable Sharing Fund. For prosecurotr’s office.

• Authorizing the Auditor’s Office to transfer all reimbursable expenses to the Public Assistance

Fund.

• Setting time, date and place to receive bids for two, eight-passenger, four-wheelchair vans for the

opportunity center. March 26 at 10 a.m.

• Appointing Erin Sehlhorst to the Seneca County 169 Board on behalf of the opportunity center.

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