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SENECA COUNTY: Three Bears, library funding, and financial audit take center stage at meeting (video)

On Tuesday the Seneca County Board of Supervisors met for their first full-, regularly scheduled meeting with Interim County Manager Mitch Rowe at the helm.

While it was a night of remembrance for the supervisors, as they honored those who lost their lives in the tragic terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001 – it quickly became a productive meeting.

There were a number of public speakers at Tuesday’s session. Below is a recap of that portion of the session. Check out the entire meeting video in the window below, or click on the timestamps listed below to see individual portions.


– Tom Bouchard was the first public speaker of the night; and he set out to speak about the Three Bears located in Ovid. “Since it’s inception, the presence o the Three Bears; in partnership with the County, has worked hard to preserve these three buildings,” he explained. He expressed concern about an earlier desire to sell the Three Bears, which was pushed by former County Manager John Sheppard. The board ultimately was not receptive to the idea. Bouchard addressed the overall safety concerns and physical condition of the building. He asked that the board pass a resolution to hold October’s meeting at the Papa Bear, located in Ovid. That session, which happens annually due to the county’s status as a dual-shire – was called into question due to handicap accessibility. Bouchard noted that while the Mama Bear is handicap accessible, Papa Bear is not – and making it handicap accessible would be an intense cost. “We’re not showcasing these jewels,” he continued. “The Three Bears is literally, and figuratively in the dark.” Bouchard noted interest in seeing the Three Bears be used as a tourism spectacle throughout the calendar year. “I believe its in everyones best interest that the board see this as an opportunity – to breathe new life into our community – by capitalizing on the potential here in the heart of Seneca County.” (2:10)

– Sally Eller introduced Chelsea Hastings, who talked to the board on-behalf of the five libraries in Seneca County. She noted that more than 142,000 people walked into the libraries in Seneca during 2017. In addition to raw visitors, thousands of books, and other items were available to residents. They are seeking $77,500 to be split between the five libraries in Seneca County. “They do a great service – particularly in rural parts of the County where Wi-Fi, and other services aren’t that reliable,” Romulus Town Supervisor David Kaiser added. Hastings agreed, noting that a large volume of users of the library system – come from these rural locations where hundreds of events are held annually to engage the community. (8:01)

– Randy Shepard of the Bonadio Group spoke to the board updating the county on an audit process. The County is undergoing an audit of finances. “Bank reconciliations were woefully lacking,” Shepard explained. He noted that these are important because they impact federal funding. In 2017, more than $91,000 worth of expenditures had not be vouchered. He also noted that vouchers are being submitted by department heads later than typically ideal. “Part of this process is helping clean up the record keeping process,” he added. “We’re definitely putting in a lot of time to get this done and caught up.” Shepard noted the existing September 30th deadline. “I’m not sure we’ll get there.” He was unsure about the exact timeline for completion. “It’s more important to ensure we’re accurate – than timely.” Board Chairman Bob Shipley indicated near the end of the brief discussion that followed Shepard’s presentation that the 2019 budget could be impacted to some degree. However, it’s unclear how much of an impact it could have. (10:41)