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Job, Family Services gets high marks

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LYDIA BAULER

STAFF WRITER

Seneca County Commissioners highlighted a strong review of Seneca County Department of Job and Family Services.

SCDJFS was rated “100 percent” in the majority of items of assessment in a recent state review of the agency, said Commissioner Shayne Thomas.

Further, the Seneca County Child Protection Oversight and Evaluation Stage 11 Review reported the agency had “best practices” in most areas with none being identified as needing improvement, said Thomas.

“In the report, they noted we were in the top level of our reviews,” he said. “They wished we would mentor some other counties in their programs because Seneca County is doing a lot of things right.

“They wanted to congratulate us for the work that child protection does.”

Some effective practices highlighted by the state’s assessment included: timely face to face contact with alleged child victims; timely and good quality assessment of risk and safety; agency makes concerted efforts to ensure frequency and quality of visitation between parents and children for the continuity of that relationship; and the agency strives to keep siblings together when it is not possible for them remain in their own home.

The State of Ohio routinely assesses Job and Family Service departments every 18-24 months.

SCDJFS was last reviewed in 2015 with similar shining results, according to Thomas.

Separately, the county commissioners continued discussion of Small Business Administration’s program to assist small business borrowers.

According to Thomas, essentially the SBA is asking the county commissioners to put money into a fund that would be an automatic equity funding grant for any business that applied and was accepted by the SBA for their loan program.

In the program, the business would have 10-15% equity, the county would have 10-15% equity and the SBA and bank would make up the difference, said Thomas.

The county’s portion would automatically be forgiven if the business executed the plan they presented.

“From a banking perspective, I’m okay with helping people get started with some type of fund,” said Mike Kerschner, president of the county commissioners. “Since they don’t have to pay it back, it’s bothersome to me.

“I’ve got no problem with very low or zero interest. It doesn’t compute to me that if they’re successful they don’t have to pay it back.”

Thomas added he was concerned about funding businesses that might compete with other local small businesses already in the community.

The county commissioners tabled the issue for now in order to allow Kerschner and Commissioner Holly Stacy time to read over the SBA’s proposal.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting, several representatives from the townships affected by the wind farm spoke up about continuing concerns and protest.

Those in the township feel shut out from the conversation, reported a trustee from Reed Township.

A Bloom Township resident echoed dissatisfaction in the county’s limited ability to be “at the table” to negotiate with the AEZ in place and urged the commissioners to question why the majority of counties do not have AEZ agreements.

In other business, the county commissioners:

• Approved maintenance assessments for collection in 2019 for several joint county ditches maintained by the Seneca County maintenance program in Wyandot, Crawford and Sandusky counties.

• Approved a $100,000 supplemental appropriation to the Maintenance and Repair Fund.

• Approved a $10,000 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund.

• Approved a $2,000 appropriation adjustment from gas to supplies within the Maintenance and Repair Fund.

• Approved a $1,400 appropriation adjustment from attorney registrations to supplies within the General Fund.

• Approved $5,000 supplemental appropriation within the General Fund toward supplies.

• Opened sealed bids for pavement resurfacing project on County Road 19 and County Road 39.

The commissioners received four bids.

• Slated a viewing for the vacation of Vine Alley in Melmore at 9:30 a.m. July 31. A public hearing will follow at 10 a.m.

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