Seneca County Commissioners and Seneca County Auditor collaborate to say taxpayers money
By Sheri Trusty
In a collaborative effort between the Seneca County Commissioners and Seneca County Auditor Julie Adkins to save taxpayers money, the administration of sewer district billing accounts has been transferred from Seneca Regional Planning to the Auditor’ office. The decision was made by unanimous vote during the regular commissioners’ meeting on Oct. 19.
“As electives, it is our goal to save taxpayers money,” Frankart said. “With the efficiency of Auditor Adkins’s office, she will help with that.”
The contract covers the sewer subdistricts of Honey Creek, Hammer Heinsman, US 224, Bascom and New Riegel. The new contract will begin on Jan. 1, 2024.
Seneca Regional Planning Executive Director, Charlene Watkins, previously presented a proposed 2024 contract for sewer district billing administration that included an increase in the administrative fee from 8 percent to 9 ½ percent. Watkins would also manage an $18,600 user fee for Tyler Technologies sewer billing software that would, under the contract, be passed on to taxpayers.
Adkins said her office is capable of handling the sewer district billing accounts at the current 8 percent fee. In addition, Adkins’ office can absorb the $18,600 fee into that 8%. Not only will taxpayers save money under the arrangement, but they will also have a familiar, convenient location to pay bills. Sewer district residents can have confidence that billing administration will be handled by staff familiar with county properties and processes.
“We work with a large file for real estate. We’re familiar with the properties,” Adkins said. “County Engineer Mark Zimmerman and I have worked closely together for 30-plus years, and we were both part of the process of acquiring financing for these facilities.”
Although the sewer subdistricts fall under the commissioners’ authority, the commissioners look to Adkins and Zimmerman for expert advice when making decisions.
“We rely on Auditor Adkins and County Engineer Zimmerman to guide us,” Commissioner Bill Frankart said.
Adkins said her office does not plan to hire additional staff to cover the added sewer billing administration work, and she is confident her office can provide efficient billing services at the lesser rate.
“This office is financially conservative,” Adkins said. “We’ll be able to continue to serve the public by doing this for the commissioners.”