Jefferson County Commissioners to help with drainage issue | News, Sports, Jobs

STEUBENVILLE — With a private donor willing to invest $100,000 to establish a dog park in Rayland, Jefferson County officials told volunteers they would pay the cost of fixing a drainage problem at the site.

Organizers Karen Vargo and Tammy Morelli told commissioners Thursday the donor, a Tiltonsville resident, wanted to establish a dog park in honor of his late sister.

Vargo said the only suitable location — an old, abandoned softball field south of the playground at Raylands Park — would be ideal, “But unfortunately there is a drainage problem that sometimes prohibits the use of the park as it should be used.” She said even moderate rain causes the ground there to become waterlogged, forcing her to cancel events and close the playground.

The donor is willing to provide funds to build the park, as well as $20,000 for maintenance, assuming the drainage problem is fixed, she said

“It would be great, anything that brings the community together, but the drainage problem is really a problem,” Vargo told commissioners that adding the fix will cost close to $10,500.

They said the Lord reached out to all three wards in the southern part of the county and one in Belmont County “that’s very interested.”

“Although the park is a vital part of the community, the village does not have the money from the general fund to complete the drainage rehabilitation.” She wrote and told the commissioners that the dog park could not be built “until the problems existing in the park are resolved.”

“His sister meant the world to him and that’s what he wants to do.” Said Vargo. “But we need help, we can’t do it without fixing the water.”

The commissioners voted to approve the spending “whereby the origin of the funds is to be determined”, but prior to the adjournment, it was found that before the end of the year, enough revenue should be in their recovery account to cover the drainage improvements.

The commissioners also revealed that a property owner would like to donate lots at 501 Market St. and 505 Market Street to the Jefferson County Land Bank for demolition, and the land bank would assign the lots to them if they were willing to contribute to the demolition costs .

“We could possibly use it as a parking lot or green space next to our parking lot”, said Commissioner Dave Maple, who said he “abstains from applications or activities” in relation to the land bank due to his previous service on the board. “The district benefits from additional parking spaces; The benefit to the city would be the elimination of slums and rot.”

Demolition would cost approximately $150,000, but that doesn’t include the estimated $5,000 it would cost to remove asbestos floor tiles from one of the buildings.

Land bank chairman Ray Agresta said they were willing to contribute $30,000 toward the demolition work and suggested working with county commissioners for the other $120,000+. Then, after the demolition is complete, “The lots would only be transferred to the County Commission for fees associated with the transfer.”

The Landbank would oversee the demolition project “in its entirety.”

The proposal was forwarded to the prosecutor’s office “for review and a recommendation on the procedure”, Commissioner Tom Graham said.

The commissioners also gave Sheriff Fred Abdalla Jr. permission to advertise three fully outfitted cruisers.

Abdalla had requested funding for seven cruisers, but told the commissioners about this “If I get three, it will have a huge impact on the fleet and impact some of those maintenance costs.”

He said he is currently spending “$10,000 a year, at least $10,000” to keep the department’s fleet on the road.

“It gets to a point where they’re no longer worth putting money into.” said Abdallah.

Maple said he would like to see the sheriff’s fleet on a two-year replacement schedule, which in this case would be January.

“I’d be fine if that came to me in January, I’d support a two-year replacement.” he said. “But I won’t discuss it too much until January.”

However, Maple insisted that the purchase had to be put out to tender.

“I cannot support the purchase in an emergency.” said maple. “I would support it, but it has to go through the bidding process.”

The commissioners plan to pay for the additional cruisers with American Rescue Plan (COVID) relief funds.

Commissioner Tony Morelli said they could revisit the cruiser issue later in 2023, while Maple congratulated Abdalla on his budget sharpness.

“You’ve made some good changes,” added Morelli. “A lot of good things happen, but this board has your back.”

Graham, who was nearing the end of his tenure as commissioner, told Abdalla that had been the case “It was an honor to work with you and your father” during the last 20 years.

The commissioners also heard a lengthy presentation on a water meter replacement program.

Representatives from Utility Meter Solutions and Badger Meter said with age: “They tend to slow down and have reduced accuracy.”

The companies told the commissioners they could administer the district’s meter replacement program for a fee of $707,000 per year. They proposed a 10-year deal but said it could be month-to-month if the commissioners preferred.

The benefit of a 10-year contract is that $707,000 is locked in,” said Jacob Jasperson of UMS.

But the commissioners said they needed more information before making a decision – such as how much money they are losing on unbilled water and whether they would need to solicit tenders.

“If the service is going to cost $700,000, we need to know what we’re losing.” said Graham. “Is it cheaper (to do it that way)? I don’t know the answer to that, but we need to have the information.”

Morelli said the savings would have to outweigh the costs, he said “It depends on how much we lose.”

There’s a lot of unbilled water out thereMaple agreed. “(But) there are losses from firefighting, there are losses from line breaks… we haven’t put a precise figure on how much loss is caused by bad meters or old meters. Before we figure out how much money we’ll have to spend to fix it, we need to know what the losses are.”

Maple said brokers don’t focus on one particular vendor.

“This is step 1 that exposes us to the possibility.”

Jasperson suggested there’s more to winning than just that “The financial advantage, which of course is very important for you to calculate. There are also the additional services that you can offer.” Customers.

Phillip Nunes, executive director of Eastern Ohio Correction Center, meanwhile, told the commissioners that their sublease agreement needed to be updated.

Nunes said the state has provided $440,000 in capital for upgrades, including just over $353,000 at the Wintersville facility. The remainder would be invested in operations in Lisbon.

He said the funds would “come through the Jefferson County Commission”, and pointed out that due to capital consumption, the sublease agreement needs to be updated.

“The Wintersville facility is 33 years old,” said Nunes. “(The improvements) will improve the aesthetic environment of our facility.”

Nunes said they will be installing new floors throughout the Wintersville plant ($144,729); a new roof with gutter replacement ($112,950); a new walk-in freezer ($64,247; and a boiler replacement ($31,563).

The remainder of the funds would be spent at the EOCC facility in Lisbon.

Commissioners also:

— Extension of the deadline for Amsterdam wastewater customers to complete their connections by 90 days. It should be phased out around Christmas.

— Signed a pay rise for a Geary Bates Jefferson County Airpark employee who recently transitioned from part-time to full-time, resulting in a significant increase in his workload. His new hourly rate is $14.

– Approved a detention agreement between Jefferson County Juvenile Court and Delaware County, Pennsylvania authorities. Court Administrator Joe Colabella said the fees paid — $205 a day — would help offset the cost of running Jefferson County Juvenile Prison.

– Contracts between the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Department of Job and Family Services and the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court ($172,871) and the Jefferson County Auditor ($61,145).

The commissioners also signed an application for job and family services “get rid of properly” 13 old televisions and three VCRs from one of their facilities. The agency will bear the associated costs. Assistant Director Mike Kendall said as they prepared to move the childcare department to its former location: “We feel it is imperative to rid the facility of equipment that is no longer working and is obsolete. We believe these TVs and VCRs fall into that category.” Kendall estimates that disposing of the equipment will cost the department about $500.

– The Commissioners have canceled their meeting on December 22nd and will start their meeting on December 29th at 10:30 am due to a scheduling conflict

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