Vet commission on the move

STEUBENVILLE – The moving of the Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission was discussed during Thursday’s Jefferson County commissioners’ meeting.

Schelley Brooks, veterans service commission director, told commissioners the agency’s move to the Towers is proceeding according to plan.

“We’re moving (Nov.) 18,” she said, adding the agency hopes to open no later than Nov. 21 at Suite 310, 500 Market St. Brooks also asked commissioners if there is space available to park the agency’s disabled veterans transport van, used to transport veterans to the Pittsburgh Health Care System.

“The van drivers (begin the drive to Pittsburgh) at 6 a.m. and are out sometimes to as late as 8 p.m,” said Brooks.

Commissioners asked Betty Ferron, director of Jefferson County Job and Family Services, if she could work out a situation with Brooks on parking the van at the Towers building. Ferron indicated she could.

“We appreciate the fact you’re moving to the Towers,” Commissioner Tom Gentile told Brooks. “We’re happy to see this is working out.”

Gentile also cited how the proximity of the jobs and family services headquarters to the Towers Building allowed the county to share resources.

In another matter related to veterans, the Jefferson County Veterans Association asked commissioners for $1,500 to purchase a granite insert for an portal to be added to the entrance pedestal to Friendship Park as part of the veterans’ memorial there. Commissioners asked the association to submit at least two bids for the project before agreeing to pay for it, while Commissioner Dave Maple asked the association to present its plans for 2014 for the Friendship Park Museum to commissioners.

In other matters:

– Commissioners were told by the Jefferson County auditor’s office there had been a theft of scale and weight items worth several thousands of dollars from a storage container in Mingo Junction. Patrick Marshall, county auditor, asked if there is space in the Towers building for storage of the equipment. Marshall added the county is paying $600 a year for rent.

Bob DiFonzo, county building maintenance supervisor, said he believes there is enough space in the Towers building for the equipment.

“That would be a good solution, and we also would save $600 a year in rental fees,” said Commissioner Thomas Graham.

– Maple said he went to the home of Rick Calabrese to inspect damage Calabrese said was done by crews during the Crestview-Belvedere sewage project.

“(Calabrese) isn’t at this time asking for money (to repair the damage),” said Maple, adding Calabrese just wanted commissioners to be aware of the problem.

Maple also said a letter should be sent to Rudzik Excavating, sub-contractor for the project, informing them of the situation.

In a related matter, Gentile told Shannon Gosbin, county sanitary engineer, he’d received several complaints about the conduct of some employees in her department. Gentile also said employees might need further training on dealing with the public to prevent conflicts. The other commissioners agreed, adding additional training might be needed.

– David Nicholson, owner of ASAP Monitoring devices of Tiltonsville, approached commissioners with a plan to provide monitoring of defendants on house arrest that wouldn’t cost the county anything. He said the county would receive an initial $50 for each defendant monitored as well as a portion of $12 a day, both of which would be paid for by the defendant. He added all the county common pleas court judges had approved the plan.

“If all judges have signed off on it – we weren’t sure if they would,” said Maple, adding the system might be worth a try.

Not all defendants would be eligible, as those declared indigent would have to be housed in the Jefferson County jail instead, it was explained. Commissioners approved the plan with the contingency of ASAP preparing a six-month report on the plan.

– Commissioners agreed to let local concerns add topsoil to a portion of the Jefferson County Airpark at a cost not to exceed $12,500 and only if the Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority agrees to the proposal at its next meeting.

– It was announced the county courthouse would be closed Monday in observance of Veterans Day.