Commissioners move forward with plans for EMS station, discuss capital projects
[Tiffin, OH – Feb. 24, 2022] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution Thursday morning to spend as much as $750,000 for an Emergency Medical Services station in the southeastern portion of the county near US 224.
This would be the first of four planned new EMS facilities across the county as part of the Seneca County Joint Ambulance District initiative — one in the southeast side of the county, one in the northeast, one in the northwest and one in the southwest.
The southeast facility would house both paid and volunteer staff from the Attica-Venice-Reed and Bloom-Scipio joint ambulance districts.
On Thursday, Board President Anthony Paradiso announced that the AVR and BS districts recently changed its name to Eastern Seneca Joint Ambulance District. The new building is to house paid and volunteer staff.
Paradiso said six villages and 10 townships are currently working together to consider forming a single joint ambulance district. Right now, the county contracts with four joint ambulance districts to provide ambulance services to residents in the rural areas of Seneca County (those who are not covered by Tiffin or Fostoria’s EMS agencies).
Under the current agreement, joint ambulance districts are responsible for personnel, while the county funds training, equipment, vehicles, etc.
The current system has some paid county personnel who supplement the volunteers who have run the county EMS system since 1978. With the future of volunteerism unclear, county officials hope to have full-time personnel across four stations, who are supplemented by volunteers.
Commissioner Mike Kerschner said federal American Rescue Plan Act funding is to help in building the new facility. He stressed the importance of using that one-time funding on projects that would not bring on significant recurring expenses.
Kerschner said the goal is to have four EMS facilities strategically located across the county to provide high-quality, Advanced Life Support care to those who need it in the rural areas of Seneca County in 10 minutes or less.
Paradiso said the upcoming March 3rd EMS stakeholders meeting has been canceled, as the group of townships and villages interested in moving forward are continuing to hold meetings and prepare for the larger meeting including the county.
The next EMS stakeholders meeting is scheduled for April 7th at 7 p.m. at the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.
In other business, the commissioners agreed to allow the Seneca County Commission on Aging to place a roughly 0.3-mill levy on the November 2022 ballot.
Commission on Aging Executive Director Bryan Glover said that this same levy has been put on the ballot for renewal every five years since 1999, per Ohio law.
He said it has been approved each time, with about 70 percent of the vote being the lowest result.
The levy generates about $320,000 annually for the group, which uses the money as a local match to bring in state and federal funds, bringing the Commission’s budget to about $2 million annually.
Glover said the organization provides many services to seniors, including through the Meals on Wheels Program. He said more than 266,000 meals were served by the organization last year.
Kerschner thanked Glover, his board and all volunteers for their hard work to provide important services to seniors in the community.
After the board meeting, the commissioners hosted an hourlong work session to discuss capital projects. Thursday’s discussion included an update from Seneca County Sheriff Fred Stevens, as he detailed several requests and wish list items for the next couple of years.
The commissioners agreed to continue capital improvement budget discussions during next Thursday’s board session at 10 a.m. The discussion is also to include planning for the potential usage of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.
During new business, the board approved all appropriations and resolutions from the meeting agenda.