Hancock County Commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday for a dollar per parcel maintenance assessment for the Blanchard River Stream Enhancement Project, for collection with 2019 real estate tax bills.

The assessment will generate about $55,000 and assist with continued river maintenance, similar to assessments on county-approved ditch maintenance projects.

It is the first time for such an assessment, the commissioners said, and follows a recent vote by county commissioners in the six counties within the river’s watershed: Hancock, Hardin, Putnam, Wyandot, Seneca and Allen counties.

Several river maintenance projects have been done in recent years at the counties’ expense.

Bids were opened recently for the “benching” project in Findlay which is expected to reduce water levels in the area during flooding conditions. Helms Construction, Findlay, submitted the low bid of about $6.1 million, far below the $10 million estimate by project engineers.

The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District, Defiance, which is overseeing the flood-reduction efforts, opened bids last week.

Helms was one of six bidders on the project. The highest bid received Thursday was $9.2 million.

The Blanchard River will be widened in Findlay by cutting “benches” into the riverbank for about 3,500 feet between the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge and Broad Avenue. The benches are meant to increase the river’s capacity. The benches will be excavated on the north bank of the river.

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