Federal COVID-19 legislation could bring more than $10 million to Seneca County
[Tiffin, OH March 11, 2020] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners learned Thursday morning that about $10.7 million could come into the county for pandemic-related expenses after the American Rescue Plan Act was approved by Congress this week.
Mike Dittoe, of High Bridge Consulting, updated the commissioners on federal and state legislation and how it could impact the county’s finances.
“This is very, very good news in the midst of the pandemic,” Dittoe said of the $1.9 trillion federal package. “A big chunk of that (funding) goes toward aiding cities, small villages and counties.”
Dittoe said the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the National Association of Counties concurred that about $10.7 million is likely to come to the county. Dittoe said the details of how the funding can be used are not yet finalized, but some believe the funding will be more flexible for counties than the roughly $3.5 million the commissioners received last year through the CARES Act. The CARES money was used for pandemic-related county expenses and to assist local residents, small businesses and nonprofits. The new funding is being distributed to help local governments deal with the continuing negative impact of COVID-19. It is likely the county could be eligible to use the funds over the next few years.
Barring any hiccups in the next day or two, and pending President Joe Biden’s signature on the legislation, the “big cash influx” is due to every county in the United States soon, Dittoe said.
He also said some other pieces of pending state legislation could lead to further funding for local municipalities and counties, including some money available for the expansion of rural broadband internet access and for schools.
High Bridge Consulting is to continue its work with the commissioners and will provide a breakdown of the funding when more information becomes available.
According to a document from Senator Sherrod Brown’s Office, the city of Tiffin is expected to receive about $3.45 million through the program, while the city of Fostoria is expected to receive about $2.5 million. These allocations are in addition to the county’s disbursement.
During new business, the board approved:
* A resolution for General Fund salary increases. With the increase, the commissioners are recommending departments give 1 percent as a bonus, and 2 percent as a raise. The cost for the increase is $448,646.40. This reflects a 5 percent change because of a 2 percent bump that was paid last year but was not reflected in the budget yet. As a general rule, any 1 percent increase to General Fund salaries costs about $90,000.
* A $15,100.86 supplemental appropriation to the FFY2021 STEP Fund.
* A $20,401.25 supplemental appropriation to the FFY2021 IDEP Fund.
* An $11,016.80 supplemental appropriation to the Clerk of Courts Title Admin Fund for salaries.
* A $6,000 supplemental appropriation to the Foreclosure Special Projects Fund for software license/services.
* A $10,667.58 supplemental appropriation for Recorder’s Office equipment.
* An agreement with Stantec Consulting Services for engineering fees associated with airfield drainage improvements on behalf of the Seneca County Airport.
* A contract with Crawford Construction Co. for the CR 56 and CR 38 superstructure replacement prestressed box beams project. The company, from Galion, bid $236,119.96 for the project on Feb. 25.