County eyes grant uses


Staff writer

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County commissioners Thursday held the second public hearing concerning the distribution of $168,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

Mingo Junction and Wayne and Saline townships each will receive $45,600. The fair housing program will get $6,000, and the county’s regional planning commission will get $25,200 to administer the program.

Mingo Junction will pave the northern section of Commercial Street going toward the state Route 7 north on-ramp. Wayne Township will pave a section of township Road 197, and Saline Township will pave a section of township Road 304.

Domenick Mucci, county regional planning commission director, said the CDBG funding through the state in the past five years has decreased from a high of $284,000 in 2010 to $168,000 this year.

Mucci said the county’s regional planning commission opted not to have a housing repair program next year because of the decrease in funding.

The state is making money available to counties on a competitive basis for infrastructure repairs. The infrastructure repairs, like the CDBG program, have to be done in low- and moderate-income areas, he said.

The county is eligible to apply for up to $300,000 for infrastructure improvements.

Mucci said Wintersville and the county engineer’s department have asked to be considered.

Wintersville wants to make about $371,000 in improvements to a section of Fernwood Road from Main Street to Myers Lane, including fixing drainage problems, new curbs and repaving of about three-quarters of a mile.

County Engineer James Branagan said county Road 7B, Commercial Avenue extension south of Mingo Junction, will be upgraded at a cost of $468,114. He said about 0.69 mile of the road will be repaved, 4,450 feet of new curbs installed, replace or repair 12 catch basins, replace about 380 feet of storm sewers and replace sidewalks.

Wintersville and the county engineer’s department will be responsible for any costs above $300,000.

Walt Ziemba, Wintersville administrator, said the village will have to do a door-to-door income survey to see if the area qualifies as low and moderate income.

Mucci said the census reports show the George’s Run area for Branagan’s project already meets the income guidelines.

Another factor in deciding which project will be submitted is the removal of blight. Branagan said the section of county Road 7B shows blight and he questioned whether the same can be said of Fernwood Road in Wintersville.

Commissioners said they will give Wintersville one week to complete the income survey before making a decision on which project will be considered.

Mucci said there is a June 21 deadline for submitting the application to the state.

Commissioners also were informed the county’s airport was named the 2013 airport of the year by the Ohio Aviation Association because of improvements to the airport during the past several years.

Commissioners were updated on plans to extend the runway by 600 feet to a length of 5,000 feet. The project is currently out to bid, with the bid opening set for the June 13 commissioners’ meeting.

J. Brad Homan of Michael Baker Jr. Inc., the airport authority’s engineering consultant, said airport officials will apply for a higher designation of use, which will make more money available from the Federal Aviation Administration for future improvements.

Commissioners also heard a request from the county airport authority for assistance from the county water and sewer department in moving a water line as part of the runway extension project. Commissioners asked for cost estimates before making a decision.

Commissioners also accepted the resignation of Earl Muenze as a member of the airport authority.

Commissioners also:

Approved $47,813 in indigent client attorney fees for May. The county auditor’s office reported, at the current pace, the county will need about $80,000 in additional money to finish the year.

Approved awarding a contract to James White Construction of Weirton to fix a retaining wall on Permars Run Road that collapsed. The engineer’s estimate was $27,900. James White’s bid was $24,984.

Opened two bids for paving about one mile of county Road 15. The engineer’s estimate was $173,016. Shelly and Sands of Rayland submitted the apparent low bid of $154,966.