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Turbine project AEZ intent clarified

Seneca County commissioners approved a resolution Thursday clarifying their intent that the refiled Seneca Wind commercial wind turbine project should not be under the county’s former Alternative Energy Zone.

In March, the commissioners voted to rescind the county’s AEZ, which had been put in place by a previous board in 2011. The AEZ ended June 30.

However, when sPower refiled its Seneca Wind project it had withdrawn in August, there was confusion about whether the new project would be “grandfathered” under the former AEZ.

The commissioners said that is not the case. The new project would not fall under the former AEZ, and Thursday’s resolution was passed to clarify that stance.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner said he talked with John Workman of the Ohio Development Services Agency, and Kerschner said he understands the new application is “substantially different” from the previous one because it has been reconfigured.

“We already think we’ve done this,” said Commissioner Shayne Thomas. “This adds another level of clarity.”

In part, the resolution states, “Any new application filed by Seneca Wind LLC with the Ohio Power Siting Board shall not be part of or subject to or receive any benefits of the 2011 Alternative Energy Zone and shall not qualify as a qualified energy project under ORC Section 5727.75. Further resolved, that the Ohio Development Services Agency shall immediately rescind and cancel the Ohio Qualified Energy Project Tax Exemption Certificate for Seneca Wind LLC dated August 31, 2018.”

Also Thursday, County Administrator Stacy Wilson gave an update on the General Fund budget following a meeting Wednesday morning with the sheriff and courts about their financial needs. She said she estimates $17.4 million in revenue for 2020 and $17.3 million in expenses.

Expenses include wage increases only for union employees, which are required by contract. But the commissioners are to consider other wage increases before they make a final decision, depending on final numbers.

The commissioners are requesting the Budget Commission attend their meeting next week.

They set their meeting schedule for the rest of the year. Dates and times are 9 a.m. Tuesday to replace the regular meeting on Thanksgiving; 9 a.m. Dec. 3, and canceling Dec. 5; and 10 a.m. regular sessions on Dec. 12, 19 and 26. There may be another meeting set for the week of the year, depending on need, and the annual reorganization meeting is set for Jan. 9.

Also, the commissioners heard a request for a 4% increase in funds for 2020 from Fostoria Law Director Stephanie Kiser. The county has allotted $21,000 each year since 2009.

The commissioners approved:

* A $3,000 supplemental appropriation to the DRETAC – delinquent real estate tax and assessment collection – fund for contract services, as requested by the county auditor and treasurer.

* A $52,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund switching sheriff’s office salaries from one fund to another.

* Setting 10 a.m. Dec. 19 to receive bids for a 2019 Ford Transit U4X-XL vehicle on behalf of the Seneca County Veterans Services Commission.

* Appointing Tony Paradiso to the unexpired term of Holly Stacy to represent the commissioners on the District Public Works Integrating Committee for the Ohio Public Works Commission District 16, expiring April 30, 2021.

* Appointing Melissa Weininger to the facility governing board for CROSSWAEH for a three-year term. Beginning Dec. 1.