Post-meeting release 11/7

Commissioners get an update on Land Bank, county budget Thursday

[Tiffin, OH Nov. 7, 2019] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners received an update from County Treasurer Paul Harrison on the county’s Land Bank program Thursday morning.
The commissioners previously authorized a fund advancement of $300,000 to the land bank to help make the program successful. Harrison joined the meeting with a $300,000 check to repay the board and also with some news of the program’s triumphs.
Harrison said after repaying the county, the land bank still has about $279,000 left to continue demolitions of blighted properties throughout the county.
He said about 50 demolitions have occurred, with about 17 more that could be razed in the future. He also said about five properties were purchased and rehabilitated by residents.
Harrison said the program has positively affected the county’s economy and has also contributed to the elimination of slum and blight.
Commissioner Mike Kerschner thanked Harrison for his work and also mentioned former treasurer Damon Alt and Fostoria Economic Development Corp. President Renee Smith for forming and administrating the land bank program.
Commissioner Shayne Thomas praised the level of collaboration exhibited through the success of the program. Several county departments, private businesses and city officials from Tiffin and Fostoria all have contributed.
“This has been a truly collaborative project,” he said. “Some other counties don’t do a land bank program because they don’t have this level of collaboration.”
In other business, the commissioners discussed a trip made by all three to the Statehouse in Columbus Wednesday morning to show support for a bill sponsored by State Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin, that would give township residents an amplified voice on the fate of industrial wind turbine projects.
Kerschner spoke during a press conference held about the bill.
“If you believe, as I do, that as elected officials, we have a responsibility to make sure that people have a voice in what happens in their community, this referendum initiative certainly accomplishes this task,” he said at the presser.
Also during the meeting, the board received a brief update on the 2020 budget. County Administrator Stacy Wilson said General Fund revenue could be lower in 2020 than it was in 2019 due to several factors, including declining revenue at the county jail and decreases in commitments from the state to counties across Ohio.
As of the Thursday meeting, expenses for 2019 were at about 80.17 percent of what was budgeted, while revenue was at about 86.5 percent.
More information about the budget is expected to be discussed throughout this month.
In other business, the commissioners commended Seneca County Board of Elections personnel for running an efficient election earlier this week. New electronic voting machines were used for the first time and nearly all the feedback from voters was positive about the experience.

During budget adjustments, the board approved:
* A $3,000 supplemental appropriation to the DRETAC Fund for supplies.
* A $22,740 supplemental appropriation to the Justice Reinvestment and Incentive Grant Fund for contract services.

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