Commissioners approve funding for sheriff’s office, EMS/EMA improvements
*** See video recap at the bottom of the page!
[Tiffin, OH — June 17, 2021] – On Thursday, the Seneca County Board of Commissioners approved more than $210,000 of increases within the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office budget for 2021.
The increases include the hiring of five correction officers and a Registered Nurse for the Seneca County Jail. Sheriff’s Office officials believe the upgrade in staffing could lead to revenue increases at the jail via the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Program and through housing inmates from other counties. Jail revenue over the past several years has seen a steady decrease. As of last week, the jail had only generated $257,000 in revenue in 2021. The jail generated about $900,000 in 2020, $1.1 million in 2019 and $1.6 million in 2018.
Traditionally, jail revenue is one of the six highest General Fund revenue sources. The Seneca County Budget Commission certified a projection of $750,000 in revenue for the jail for 2021, making it the fourth-highest projected revenue source behind sales tax, property tax and the Local Government Fund from the state.
Of the $210,000 nearly all of the increases are recurring costs in future years. Expenses included personnel, training and uniforms.
In April, the board also approved $135,000 in increases for the sheriff’s office to purchase and equip four new vehicles.
Seneca County Sheriff Fred Stevens also requested six new deputies for road enforcement, but the commissioners agreed to re-evaluate that decision when more is made known by the budget commission regarding revenue for the year.
In the 2021 budget, the sheriff’s office ($2,079,571.56) and the county jail ($3,681,623.31) made up about 32 percent of the county’s budget.
In other action, the commissioners agreed to spend as much as $125,000 for two new vehicles and a trailer on behalf of the Seneca County Emergency Management Agency and Seneca County EMS. One of the vehicles will be staffed by the county’s Echo paramedic unit.
Also during the session, the board opened bids for several projects, including a major road pavement resurfacing project on CR 47.
The commissioners received two bids for the road project, which will occur in Seneca and Hopewell townships. The engineer’s estimate for the project was $646,087 and the following bids were received:
• Gerken Paving, of Napoleon, for $655,438.32
• M&B Asphalt, of Tiffin, for $621,731.50
The bids are to be reviewed by the county engineer before moving forward.
During County Administrator Stacy Wilson’s report, she said the county’s sales tax collection was $1,039,097 for June. This reflects sales tax receipts from most of April and some of March.
The figure is about 28.1 percent higher than the (non-pandemic) figure from June of 2019.
During new business, the commissioners approved:
• A $250 supplemental appropriation to the County Sales Tax Bond Retirement for contract services.
• An $18,854 supplemental appropriation to the Concealed Handgun Licenses Fund for equipment (non-General Fund).
• A $1,000 supplemental appropriation to the Special Projects Fund for contract/consultants.
• A $500,000 supplemental appropriation to the Children Services Fund for shared costs, and another to the same fund in the same amount for the SS-1 Grant. Both are fully grant-funded by the state.
• A $75,000 supplemental appropriation to the Children Services Fund for services for children (also funded by a state grant).
• Setting July 15 at 1:30 a.m. to receive sealed bids for the drainage project at the Seneca County Airport.
• Setting July 8 at 10:15 a.m. to receive sealed bids for the CR 52 pavement widening and resurfacing project.