Harrison commissioners apply for block grant

CADIZ – Harrison County commissioners on Wednesday agreed to apply for Community Development Block Grant funding that will help three communities with improvements.

Jody Hennis, administrative assistant for Harrison County Community Improvement Corp., held the first public hearing for the 2013 program. Hennis said the county is eligible for grant allocations for three projects at $75,000 to $124,000 in CDBG funding. CDBG funding provides assistance to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods throughout the county.

Hennis explained that in the past, the county has funded six projects, but under changes in the program the projects are limited to three at $20,000, two at $30,000 or one at $60,000.

Commission Chair Don Bethel explained that there were just three projects over the past four years exceeding the $20,000 ceiling.

Hennis explained that communities can group projects as long as all of them fall within their block and encouraged applicants to try and come up with a $20,000 total.

Applicants still must meet the requirements, and several county villages and townships will not qualify.

Another change is the citizens participation plan which no longer requires publication in a local newspaper, but new guidelines require providing copy to all entities and libraries.

In other matters, Harrison County Sheriff Ronald J. Myers reported the county’s speed trailer had been placed at the entrance to the Midstream construction site and in January, “20 shy of 41,000 vehicles drove into the facility.”

The trailer does not monitor outgoing traffic and since being placed late in November it has monitored 97,1560 vehicles.

“Most of them are going at or under the 25 miles-per-hour speed limit,” Myers added.

Commissioners also approved a contract with the engineering firm EMH&T to prepare plans for the rail crossing on the new road being constructed into the same M3 Midstream gas plant.

Doug Crabtree representing the county engineer’s office said the engineering would cost the county $16,000.

“The firm has worked in the area with the local railroad and is familiar with the proposed project, and we feel this is the least expensive route,” he said.

Midstream is covering all costs for the road construction, including the engineering.

Crabtree also brought five road-use agreements. The board approved an agreement with Chesapeake Exploration for North Township covering 1.5 miles of county Road 44 and 0.2 mile of county Road 43 to access the William Phillips site. Another agreement is for 1.8 miles of county Road 49, 1.0 mile of county Road 66 and 1.1 miles of county Road 44 to access the Clodt site. There’s also an agreement for 1.1 miles of county Road 44 to access the Valdinger Site, with Chesapeake Exploration; and an agreement in Short Creek Township with Ohio Gathering LLC for 0.45 mile of county Road 23, 2.8 miles of county Road 5, 7.85 miles of county Road 13, 4.95 miles of county Road 14 and 3.3 miles of county Road 12.

Commissioners questioned Crabtree as to the new requirement for an addendum on regulations for crossing county highways and was assured the documents would be included.

Crabtree also announced the county lost 0.11 of a mile in the recent ODOT mileage certification, dropping from 261.99 miles to 261.88 miles.

He also reported the engineer’s office is searching for a program that will track all of the road-use agreements and well drilling permits in the county. The board suggested a fee be assessed to offset the cost of purchasing the program.

The board also approved, at the recommendation of the Harrison County Beekeeper Association, a new apiary inspector for the county.

Robert Hooker, former president of the Ohio Beekeepers Association, will be the county inspector for 2013.