Commissioners host three budget hearings, receive updates on county airport
[Tiffin, OH – Oct. 21, 2021] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners heard from three county departments Thursday afternoon for budget hearings following a regular board session.
Officials from the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission, The Ohio State University Extension Office and the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office met with the commissioners for hearings about proposed 2022 budgets.
Budgets are due from all county departments on Friday. The commissioners previously said they hope to approve all General and non-General Fund budgets by Nov. 18.
The Veterans Service Commission expense figure, which is part of the General Fund budget, is strictly set by a property tax millage each year. Seneca County Auditor Julie Adkins certified that number at $726,997.57 for 2022.
Veterans Service Office Director Tara Balliet said for every local dollar spent in 2020 (the last available year for this statistic), the US Department of Veteran Affairs provided $79 in additional funding to Seneca County veterans.
County Administrator Stacy Wilson complimented Balliet at the Veterans Service Office for being fiscally responsible, as the office has not spent its budgeted amount over the past few years.
In a separate budget hearing, representatives from the Ohio State University Extension office spoke to the commissioners, requesting an additional $20,800 in the 2022 budget to staff a second extension agriculture educator position.
Hallie Williams, who recently left this position, had filled the spot since October 2018. In 2018, the county had entered into a memorandum of understanding that allowed the university to fund half of the county’s portion of the cost for the position for the first three years.
Mary Beth Albright and Jeff McCutcheon from the OSU extension office asked the commissioners to pay the other half of the county’s share of the cost in 2022 to find a new employee for this role.
With the second educator position in 2021, the county paid about $122,400 for two OSU extension educators, support staff, supplies, etc.
The request Thursday afternoon was for about $143,200 in 2022.
During another budget hearing, Seneca County Sheriff Fred Stevens outlined his budget requests for 2022.
The request, between the county jail, road law enforcement and justice center security lines, equaled more than $7.4 million. This marks a nearly 25-percent increase from the initially budgeted $5.9 million figure for 2021.
The commissioners thanked all who attended the budget hearings and let each department know that no decisions would be made until all budget requests could be considered and prioritized.
Earlier this week, the Seneca County Budget Commission certified $19 million in projected General Fund revenue for 2022, making it so the commissioners must keep expenditures at this level or less to pass a balanced budget.
County officials said early projections show budget expenditure requests could total more than $20 million by the time all budget proposals are submitted.
During the preceding board session, the commissioners heard updates from Family and Children First Council Executive Director Sharon George and Seneca County Airport Operator Brad Newman.
George shared information about several programs the organization has been working on to positively impact children and families in the county.
Newman said work on the 100-percent federally funded airport drainage/erosion control taxiway rehabilitation project was about half done. He also mentioned that a crack filling project for the runway and ramp is necessary. Wilson said all but $2,000 of the $45,000 project could be funded through CARES Act federal money.
The board also authorized county staff to create a proclamation in honor of the recently deceased Dale Stacy. Stacy served as a Seneca County Commissioner from 1966-1982.
In new business, the board approved all new business from the pre-meeting press release.