Areas may benefit from projects

STEUBENVILLE – Residents of Mingo Junction and Wayne and Saline townships may benefit from paving projects funded by the county Community Development Block Grant program, the Jefferson County commissioners learned on Thursday.

Domenick Mucci, county Regional Planning Commission director, said the county last year received $228,000 in CDBG funds from the state. The state informed the county to plan on receiving a similar amount this year, but the actual figure won’t be available until April 11.

Mucci held the first of two public hearings on the grant funding, which benefits low- and moderate-income areas.

Mucci said the regional planning commission, made up representatives from Toronto, villages and townships, in the past had rotated which communities got funding. The state now wants a more competitive process. He said six communities have submitted applications, with three already meeting the grant requirements.

Mingo Junction wants to use grant money to repave a section of the road leading to the onramp of state Route 7 north near Logan Street, according to Mingo Junction Councilman John Fabian.

Wayne Township Trustee Brian Wilson said the township wants to repave a section of township Road 197, and Saline Township Trustee Bryan Black said he and his fellow township trustees wants to repave the hill on Little Mills Road, also known as township Road 304 west.

County Commissioner David Maple said the projects will benefit residents but wanted to know if there is enough grant money to cover the paving costs.

Mucci said the county engineer’s department provides cost estimates of the projects. He said some communities in the past have assumed any costs above the grant amount.

A second public hearing on the county’s CDBG program will be held in May to outline which projects will receive funding.

Mucci said the county also sets aside about 15 percent of the grand amount for administration and $6,000 for fair housing activities, which includes processing complaints and providing public education.

Commissioners also signed a $200,000 grant from the Ohio Development Services Agency as part of funding to extend a road at the county’s industrial park off county Road 43.

The project will cost about $667,000 and will open up another 25 acres for development at the industrial park. Commissioners previously were told two companies are interested in locating at the industrial park if the road is extended.

The Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Appalachian Regional Commission/Governor’s Office of Appalachia also will each contribute $200,000, with the county paying the remaining $67,000.

Commissioners received the annual report of the county’s storm water management plan from Brandon Andresen, county storm water consortium group water quality coordinator, on efforts throughout 2012 to improve the quality of storm water drained into water ways.

Andresen said among the highlights of the report was a decrease in the amount of salt used in snow and ice control because of the mild winter last year.

Communities contribute funding for the consortium, a requirement of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The commissioners also approved submitting $47,371 in attorney fees for indigent defendants for March. The state provides a partial reimbursement. The amount of money for such attorney fees has increased this year due to a requirement that any juvenile in a juvenile court proceeding be appointed an attorney.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham was absent from the meeting.