Commissioners receive public input regarding prohibition of alternative energy projects
[Tiffin, OH – Nov. 18, 2021] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners received feedback Thursday morning during a public hearing regarding Ohio Senate Bill 52.
Although the board did not officially act Thursday, a map was presented that would prohibit all solar and wind projects that generate more than 50 megawatts in all unincorporated areas of the county.
Board President Mike Kerschner said the bill, and the pending action by the county, is meant to give more local control to those most impacted by large alternative energy projects. He said once a resolution is approved by the county, there is a 30-day window in which those who oppose the decision could petition for a referendum, or a vote, to affirm or reject the commissioners’ decision.
The petition must have at least eight percent of the number of registered electors who voted in the county in the most recent gubernatorial election.
Kerschner thanked Ohio Senator Bill Reineke for sponsoring the bill, and thanked the citizens who showed up to the hearing to provide feedback. All public comments were in support of the county’s resolution to prohibit large alternative energy projects in the county.
A vote on the matter is expected to occur at Tuesday’s board session. You can view the proposed map of prohibited areas at this link:
In other business, the commissioners discussed the future of Seneca County EMS, including expressing disappointment that Bascom Joint Ambulance District leaders had decided to opt out of the system.
At this month’s EMS stakeholder meeting, BJAD leadership informed the county that it would be the lone entity separating from Seneca County EMS to provide its own service.
“We have laid out our vision for the future of ambulance service in the county, and it seems that the Bascom Joint Ambulance District has a different vision,” Kerschner said. “We’ve done everything we can to bring them aboard with the other districts, but we respect the decision of the Bascom Joint Ambulance District and wish them the best moving forward.”
Due to BJAD choosing to leave the county system, the commissioners signed a letter giving them notification that it plans to remove all county-owned equipment by February 21, 2022. You can view the letter here:
In other action, a group of local Master Gardeners visited the commissioners to ask them to fund an agriculture educator position through the Ohio State University Extension Office in the 2022 budget.
Kerschner said the board is considering the request, but has more than $20 million of expenditure requests in the General Fund, with only $19 million in certified revenue for next year.
The commissioners made no promises, but ensure those in attendance that they would try to get creative with the budget in order to keep the position.
During new business, the commissioners approved all resolutions from the meeting agenda except for a $22,470 JRIG Grant, which was tabled due to a clerical error.