Commissioners tour new 911 emergency vehicle

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County commissioners were given a tour Thursday of the county’s new 911 emergency communication vehicle, which was purchased with a grant from the Port of Pittsburgh.

Robert Herrington, the county’s 911 director, said the entire vehicle was purchased and equipped with $318,000 in grant money, with the total cost being $325,000.

Ohio County in West Virginia also received the same vehicle from the Port of Pittsburgh.

Herrington said the vehicle allows the county’s 911 system to communicate with any federal, state or local agency at the scene of an emergency.

He said the Port of Pittsburgh was interested in continuing security along the Ohio River, especially in areas that are close to power plants and dams.

He said the vehicles in Jefferson and Ohio counties will participate in a federal drill in the near future.

The vehicle can be used as a duplicate of the 911 radio system in the event the 911 center fails.

The state and federal government also want to monitor large gatherings of people for security in light of the Boston Marathon bombing incident.

He said the vehicle has satellite radios and television, along with portable radios and a smart board television that can be written on during emergency scene planning. There also is a weather station that can monitor weather patterns in the event of a hazardous material incident.

Anthony Macedonia of Farber Specialty Vehicles of Reynoldsburg, a former city resident, was the engineer and designer of the vehicle.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham said Herrington should be commended for making the county’s 911 system a technological leader in the area and state.

Herrington said 911 system also received a grant to purchase three rescue boats that can be used on the Ohio River and any waterway in the county.

Commissioners also announced an agreement has been reached between the commissioners and the county’s humane society about increasing the humane society’s role at the county’s animal shelter.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile said the human society will do more work on public adoption and education on pet ownership.

The county will continue to have employees taking care of dogs, with the help of the humane society. The humane society will continue to care for cats.

Sally Wehr, president of the county humane society, said there is computer software that can be used to track dogs at the shelter. She said the information can be placed on Internet dog adoption sites.

County Commissioner David Maple said the agreement with the humane society will allow county workers to spend more time caring for dogs, while the humane society will work in dealings with the public about adoptions.

Wehr said the agreement will improve customer service at the shelter.

The humane society has four full-time workers and a team of volunteers at the shelter.

Commissioners also announced the distribution of $400 to veterans organizations and $100 to non-veterans organizations for Memorial Day ceremonies. Commissioners on Thursday approved the distribution of $7,400 to the groups that had applied.

Commissioners agreed to advertise for bids for the extension of the runway at the county airport. The county received $1.5 million in state grants, with the county contributing $500,000.

Commissioners also:

Announced the second public hearing for the county’s Community Development Block Grant program. The county is eligible to receive $168,000, according to county Regional Planning Commission. The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on May 23 at the commissioners’ office.

Agreed to provide $13,750 to the county Treasurer Raymond M. Agresta to purchase electronic deposit equipment and software. Agresta said the system will allow the treasurer’s office to scan checks presented to pay real estate taxes for immediate deposit, instead of taking the checks to a bank for deposit. Agresta said the treasurer’s office handles about 70,000 checks a year.

Approved the reappointment of Thomas Timmons of WesBanco to the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association revolving loan fund.

Agreed to renew a one-year contract with Cogent Systems for $780 for fingerprinting services for criminal background checks for the county Job and Family Services Department for persons working with children in day care or foster care, as well as new employees.

Approved a road use maintenance agreement with Chesapeake Energy for a new gas well site on county Road 78, Amsterdam. County Engineer James Branagan said the road has already been upgraded by Chesapeake because of two adjacent gas wells.

Heard from the third energy broker in three weeks concerning an electric aggregation program for county residents.