JMHA approves energy efficiency contract

STEUBENVILLE – The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority board of commissioners on Wednesday formally approved an energy services agreement with the Tenth Avenue Group of Aliquippa, Pa., to oversee $5.9 million in energy efficiency projects at public housing units in the county.

The commissioners also agreed to a 15-year financing agreement with the All American Investment Group for funding the energy improvement program at a maximum 4.28 percent interest rate.

“We received two financial proposals but did not accept the lower bid because they wanted to change the terms of the agreement after the fact,” explained Andrew Why, chief executive officer of the Tenth Avenue Group.

Why told the board his company has fulfilled its promise of using local contractors and buying from local vendors.

“Fort Steuben Maintenance will be our general contractor and also serve as a subcontractor for the electrical and plumbing work,” said Why.

According to Why the energy efficient projects will include, “installing energy efficient lighting, low flow faucet aerators and shower heads, installing thermopane high efficiency windows, air source heat pumps, high efficiency furnaces, new refrigerators and trash compactors. We will also have new elevators installed in the John F. Kennedy Apartment building.

“And we will be spending more than $300,000 on the JMHA scattered site properties,” noted Why.

The cost of these projects will be covered by energy savings over a 15-year period.

“I would like to thank JMHA Executive Director Joe Costantini for working so well with us to put this project together. He has been very helpful throughout this project,” said Why.

“I am very pleased to see you use local contractors and are buying locally,” said board Chairman Les Zapor.

In other business at the regular monthly meeting, Costantini said the transfer of the renovated Washington Square Apartment building from the Neighborhood Development Services to the JMHA has been delayed.

“As you may recall, NDS agreed to sell us the building for $10 after the renovations were completed. But now the Ohio Housing Finance Authority will not agree to their final payment to NDS until 10 of the 26 units have been rented to tenants. But NDS wants us to act as the manager of the apartment before we take official possession of the building,” explained Costantini.

The board declined to accept a management position at the apartment building, and members indicated they will wait until JMHA owns the facility.