Commissioners move forward with EMS station plans, discuss Health District Advisory Council
[Tiffin, OH – March 23, 2023] – The Seneca County Board of Commissioners approved a contract for engineering services Thursday morning on a project to build a full-time EMS station on the east side of the county.
The contract with RCM Architects is another step in the process to construct the building, which is to be located on East US 224.
County officials hope that the project can be put out for bids soon.
In March 2022 the commissioners agreed on an option to purchase about 3 acres of land on US 224 in Bloom Township. The option allowed the commissioners 120 days to decide if they wanted to acquire the property. The parcel was officially purchased last summer, costing about $52,500.
In February 2022 the board announced a major financial investment in Seneca County EMS when they agreed to spend as much as $750,000 on the new EMS facility.
The new station will house paid and volunteer staff of Seneca County EMS, assisting with fast, dependable emergency medical service coverage for county residents and those in the SCEMS coverage area.
Commissioner Anthony Paradiso attended last week’s Seneca County Joint Ambulance District meeting and said he felt it was the best meeting to date.
“The tone was great,” he said, adding that between volunteers and paid personnel, there are four squads staffed 24/7 to cover the county.
The joint ambulance district, which approved a 2.5-mill levy in November, works closely with the county to provide emergency medical services across the rural areas of the county that are not already covered by another agency. The passage of the levy helps the JAD and SCEMS by staffing more paid personnel to assist current staff and volunteers.
In other business, Commissioner Tyler Shuff presented a brief slideshow to educate members of the public about the Seneca County General Health District Board and the District Advisory Council that helps to oversee the health department.
He said he learned some new things this week about the DAC and wanted to share this knowledge with members of the public who may not understand what the DAC is and how the health board is structured. This presentation followed Monday’s annual meeting of the health board DAC.
Shuff said multi-jurisdictional health districts are overseen by a District Advisory Council per Ohio Revised Code. Seneca County’s District Advisory Council has 24 members, one from each township (15), village (6), city (2) and the county (1).
The DAC meets once annually in March for the purpose of electing a chair and secretary, making necessary appointments to the nine-member board of health, receiving and considering the annual or special reports from the board of health and making recommendations to the board of health for the betterment of health and sanitation of the community.
Shuff said the Seneca County General Health District’s Board is made up of nine total members, with five being appointed by the DAC, two by the city of Tiffin and two by the city of Fostoria.
In practice, Shuff said, this gives the county 1/24 of the vote on five-of-the-nine members of the health board. Meaning any individual township or village in the county has the same representation on the health board, which is about 2.3 percent.
The PowerPoint presentation also notes that not all representatives are present at meetings, making it so this representation is not an exact figure. At some meetings of the DAC, when a quorum is not reached, a five-person executive committee has been formed to conduct business and make appointments to the health board.
In other action, County Fiscal Officer Barb Patterson said that the county’s final day using Richland County Building Department for commercial inspections and permitting is set for May 31. On June 1, SAFEbuilt is to take over this role.
The commissioners are excited to work with SAFEbuilt and they have each expressed optimism that the company can provide speedy and efficient service to commercial businesses in the county. Moving to SAFEBuilt is to cost the county $29,000 upfront for software costs, and the county must provide office space for the company. Additionally, the county will receive five percent of all fees collected by SAFEBuilt.
In new business, all resolutions and appropriations from the agenda were approved, except for the Sewer District Policy and Procedure Manual resolution, which was tabled for further legal review.