I recently attended the Wolf Creek cleaning meeting held by the Seneca County commissioners. Upon arrival at the public safety building it was apparent that a decision already was made. The petitioners were huddled up with the commissioners like kids in a candy store.
Patrick Scherger started this whole thing and is one of the wealthiest of the 12 who signed the petition. In the last 10 years, he has received $1,066,663 in farm subsidies; $563,584 went to his farm in Kansas, Ohio; $70,000 from Conservation Securities Program; $113,395 in conservation subsidies. There were two others of the 12 present; their names were not known to me.
The commissioners did not seem very interested in comments made by letters to them or the people in attendance. Jeff Wagner let it slip at the end of the meeting that he was for the findings of the county engineer. The county engineer quoted at total of $225,000 as a preliminary cost. The cost could rise or fall when an actual survey is done. Ben Nutter is already known for his lack of caring what the people of Seneca County have to say about issues. This is just another tax he can leave as his mark on the county.
Someone brought up the issue of the commissioners making the owners of the problem areas of Wolf Creek clean up their own property, or the county could clean it up and bill the owners of the affected areas. Mr. Nutter said the commissioners did not have that authority. The county engineer stated he thought the power to do so was within the commissioners' powers. This was quickly dismissed by Mr. Nutter.
There are 3,139 property owners who are being asked to clean up a few problem areas, with no direct affect on the majority of the 3,139. Bettsville seems to be at the heart of this issue. Twenty miles separate Alvada from Bettsville. The section of Wolf Creek that runs through Alvada is in good shape; the residents here take care of it. The commissioners have an opportunity to make the owners of the problem areas clean up their own, but instead are going to tax 3,139 owners to do it for them, and then charge a maintenance fee from here to eternity. Again, it was brought up that the commissioners might have the authority to make the owners of the problem areas take care of it, but again it was ignored by Mr. Nutter.
Now we already pay property taxes, should they not go for this kind of project? Another tax on the people in this county is not what we need. Where do our taxes go? The roads are in bad shape. Bridges are in bad shape. Now, a handful of wealthy farmers want more money from the working class so they don't have to spend theirs. Unfortunately, our commissioners already have decided to let the wealthy few dictate what they should do, not the majority.
I live in Alvada and, as I have stated, we have flooding issues here, not from Wolf Creek, but poor drainage, and the county engineer says we have to take care of it ourselves. Shouldn't the 12 petitioners have to do the same?