Sewer system notices to be mailed

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County commissioners Thursday were told notices will be sent out in about a month to residents in the Crestview-Belvedere concerning hooking up to the new sewer system.

Shannan Gosbin, county water and sewer department director, said there are 348 houses that will need to be connected to the sewer system.

The residents will have to pay a $6,500 tap-in fee, which can be paid all at once or placed on their sewer bills over a 30-year period.

Residents will be informed in an upcoming letter from the county water and sewer district that they will have to pay 2.75 percent interest for the tap-in fee, Gosbin said. The interest payment is the same as what the county is paying to finance the part of the project that wasn’t covered with grants, Gosbin said. The monthly cost will be $26.54. If a homeowner sells the house, the new owner will assume the costs.

Mike Warren of the county auditor’s office said it would be more expensive to residents to have the cost placed on property tax bills.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham said he wasn’t sure the residents understood they would have to pay the interest costs. Gosbin said the residents were told what the total of the tap-in fee would be but the interest costs weren’t broken out.

Warren said there was some delay in the project, and the interest rate actually dropped about one-half percent since.

Commissioners also discussed what a tap-in fee will be for future homes constructed, but no decision was made on the cost.

Gosbin said the county water and sewer district has a list of 22 approved contractors that can install connections from a home to the main sewer line. The residents have to pay 100 percent of that cost.

Commissioners also approved paperwork to enter into financing for the purchase of the Towers building on Market Street.

Commissioners have a signed purchase agreement with Tower Realty to buy the building for $750,000, plus $100,000 for four adjacent parking lots.

Commissioners also agreed to finance the project through JPMorgan Chase Bank at 2.8 percent interest over a 10-year period. The only problem with the quote is the county can’t pay off the loan early. There were five other banks that submitted quotes.

Commissioners also agreed to provide the Friendship Park Board with $45,485 to build two lift stations for the sewage project at the park and finish electrical work on 26 new campsites at the park.

James Branagan of the park board said the park could generate $124,800 a year at $400 a month for the 26 campsites.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said the campsites could quickly fill up once the oil and gas drilling picks up.

Branagan, who also is county engineer, said the Ohio Department of Transportation is not opposed to adding lighting to an upgrade project on county Road 22A. Two pedestrians were struck by vehicles on the road, with one person dying as a result, in February and March.

Branagan said the lighting addition will need the approval of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, which is the pass-through funding agency for the project.

Commissioners last week asked Branagan to study the matter.

Commissioners also:

Approved a contract between the Jefferson County Job and Family Services Department and the Jefferson County Community Action Council for $316,516 for the summer youth employment program, which will employ about 125 teenagers and young adults.

Approved the April attorney fees for indigent criminal defendants totaling $38,793.

Approved allowing Branagan as county engineer to provide assistance to the county Developmental Disabilities Board for designing paving work and bids for areas near the developmental disabilities agency off John Scott Highway.

Were informed the county received awards from the Jefferson County Safety Council for a 25 percent reduction in worker injury claims and for county employees working 792,680 hours without an injury in a six-month period.

County Commissioner David Maple said it is a good accomplishment for the county, considering there are so many departments, and each has its own safety program.

Accepted the resignation of Geary Bates from the county port authority. Bates, who recently was appointed to the county airport authority, said he wants to dedicate more time to the airport.

Derek Ferguson of Wintersville was appointed by the commissioners to fill Bates’ seat on the port authority.