Commissioners learn about millions of dollars of federal funding for local veterans
[Tiffin, Ohio – November 3rd, 2022] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners learned encouraging news from the Seneca County Veterans Service Office Thursday during a budget hearing.
Seneca County Veterans Service Office Director Tara Balliett spoke with the board about her department’s 2023 budget, and also said that millions of dollars of federal funding were brought into the county to help veterans last year.
“For every local dollar spent we brought back about $63 in federal funding for veterans here in Seneca County in 2021,” she said, adding that this is a benefit not only for veterans and their surviving spouses but for the local economy.
Balliett said that the federal Veterans Affairs spent $23,417,741.88 in the county in 2021. This funding was sparked by local investment of about $373,000.
Commissioner Anthony Paradiso asked about how many veterans reside in the county.
Balliett said there are 3,516 veterans who received some sort of VA benefits in 2021 but said this number could be higher due to those who are veterans but are not enrolled in any VA programs.
Next week is the annual veteran of the year dinner. U.S. Army Veteran Gregory Cole is to be honored during the dinner that kicks off at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the Green Springs VFW.
Members of the public can call (419) 618-1584 if they’d like to purchase a $10 ticket to the event, which includes dinner.
In other action, the commissioners agreed to help fund a countywide housing study.
The study, which is to cost the county $14,000, is to be administered by DiSalvo Development Advisors. In 2019, the company worked with the city of Tiffin on a housing study.
Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership President and CEO Aaron Montz encouraged the commissioners to support the study and said it is important because a lack of housing units is a major local issue. He said the 2019 Tiffin study showed that in Tiffin alone there was a need for 450-550 housing units. Montz said there are hundreds of unfilled jobs locally, and part of this is because people cannot locate in the area due to a lack of housing options.
“We don’t need someone to come in and build five homes, we need them to come in and build 500 homes,” Montz said.
North Central Electric Cooperative General Manager Edward VanHoose also joined the meeting to indicate his organization’s willingness to collaborate on the study and on the overall initiative to improve housing in the area.
Montz said that many great things are happening in the community by collaborating, including the recent rural broadband initiative.
“This is the next phase,” he said, adding that the study will help the community continue to grow.
Montz said DDA will go on the road and help the county recruit housing developers as part of the study.
In other news, the commissioners gave the go-ahead to Great Lakes Community Action Partnership to submit a grant application totaling about $3.7 million for capital improvements. If the county receives the grant, the local match is to be about $920,000. Paradiso said the board should table all other capital requests from the sheriff’s office until the status of the grant request is known. GLCAP officials believe the outcome of the grant should be known in February or March.
In new business, the board approved all appropriations and resolutions from the meeting’s agenda.