Post-meeting release 4/20/23
Commissioners hear updates from Fostoria Economic Development Corp., CASA
[Tiffin, OH – April 20, 2023] — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners heard a positive report from Fostoria Economic Development Corp. President Renee Smith Thursday morning.
Smith’s visit to the board session was part of a routine effort to join meetings and update the county on the latest economic development happenings in Fostoria.
Smith reported that the city’s third spec building has been constructed on US 23 South, filling the industrial park located there. She said some funding for the project was obtained through a state program and that many businesses have expressed interest in the property.
“My goal is to have that (building) filled by the end of summer,” she said, adding that she also hopes officials can move forward and establish a new industrial park for more spec building structures.
Smith also said a $450,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant was obtained for Fostoria’s Splash Pad project.
She finished her update by thanking the commissioners for their support of economic development in Fostoria.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the support of the Seneca County Board of Commissioners,” she said, adding that the cooperation and teamwork between elected officials, chambers and economic development agencies have never been better in Seneca County.
In other action, CASA Tri-County Assistant and Communications Coordinator Michelle Hess, spoke to the commissioners about the Court-Appointed Special Advocates program.
CASA is a national, volunteer-based organization that trains people to become volunteer advocates for children. CASA of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is a non-profit agency and has been serving locally abused and neglected children since 1990!
Hess said the organization is in “desperate” need of volunteers. CASA trains volunteers through a 30-hour, five-week training course. These volunteers then are paired with children in need of an advocate in the court system.
Hess said one-in-seven children experience abuse, and five children die every day from it. She said locally, there’s been an increase in child abuse cases. Advocating and representing these children, including meeting with them once a month is a way to help them later in life, she said. Hess said those abused as a child are 11 times more likely to commit crimes as an adult.
In the tri-county district last year, 283 children were served by 59 volunteers. In Seneca, 99 children were served by 31 volunteers.
Unfortunately, Hess said, 16 children were unserved because of a lack of volunteers. In this case, an attorney (Guardian Ad Litem) is assigned to provide advocacy to the child, but at a higher cost to local governments and with much less face time with the children involved.
To learn more or to sign up as a volunteer, email Hess at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (567) 804-9990.
Also during the meeting, Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bryce Riggs announced that the Seneca County Community Guide has been released.
Riggs said the booklet, which can be found all across Ohio and throughout the community, includes information not just for tourists, but also for those living in the community.
The opening page of the document includes a message from the Seneca County Commissioners, welcoming all to Seneca County.
“We are thrilled to welcome you to Seneca County, and we hope that you will take the time to explore all that this wonderful community has to offer. Whether you are here for business, leisure or simply to experience what this place has to offer, we believe that you will find something to love about Seneca County,” the guide states.
You can view the guide in its entirety at http://senecacountyguide.com/.
Following an executive session to consider the discipline of a public employee, the commissioners voted to terminate the employment of County Assistant Administrator/Clerk Kylie Garner. The decision was made due to improper conduct during an incident that occurred in March.
In other business, the commissioners approved a resolution increasing the indigent defense counsel hourly rate to $70 an hour. This brings the county’s rate to 57th in the state. Previously, the county’s rate was $60 an hour. To learn more, see last week’s post-meeting release.
Also during the session, the commissioners approved all resolutions and budget adjustments.