County considers water renewal

STEUBENVILE – Renewal of a water contract between the village of Hopedale and the Jefferson County Water and Sewer District was discussed during Thursday’s Jefferson County commissioners’ meeting.

Dominick Cingolani, chairman of the Hopedale Board of Public Affairs, requested the county extend its water contract “with the same provisions as the previous agreement.”

However, commissioners decided to table the request pending more information concerning the previous contract with the village.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said he was inclined to wait to see the previous contract and numbers before signing any contracts with the village. He added negotiations with Toronto over county water rates could have an impact on any new contracts.

The Toronto Water Plant supplies Jefferson County with water, and the county contracts with other municipalities for water customers.

Commissioners Thomas Graham and Dave Maple asked Shannon Gosbin, county sanitary engineer, if she knew any details about the county’s previous contract with Hopedale. Gosbin responded she wasn’t sure of any details.

Maple said he meant no offense to the residents of Hopedale but, “It’s only wise for us to (see the previous agreement) and have a contract proposal before us before we vote on this.”

The other commissioners agreed and asked Gosbin to present commissioners with a contract breakdown and her recommendation within two weeks.

In other matters:

– Gosbin presented commissioners with a letter from John Pierko, vice president of environmental affairs for MS Consultants Inc., engineer for the Crestview/Belvedere sanitary sewer project, concerning odor complaints from county resident Bob Becker. Becker had written several letters to commissioners complaining of odors he contends are a result of the county project to tie residents into the county’s system.

In his letter, Pierko said the problem “appears to be old traps as the cause of the Becker residence issue.”

Gosbin also told commissioners estimated costs for a trap range from $635 to $1,800.

“Is this something our (county sewage department) could do?” Gentile asked Gosbin.

Gosbin said she wasn’t sure if anyone in her department could install a trap.

Graham said at least commissioners have a cost estimate, and that is a starting point. Commissioners also questioned whether there was any real evidence the traps were the cause of the odor issue. Graham also said if one resident was considered for installation of new traps, all residents involved in the project would have to be considered.

Maple said he didn’t believe the problem was the county’s responsibility. Pierko seemed to agree with Maple.

“Since this work was on private property, it is Mr. Becker’s responsibility to install or have installed these improvements at his cost and not the county’s,” he wrote to commissioners.

– Gary Folden, treasurer for the Jefferson County Regional Airport Authority, presented commissioners with an amended policy concerning a courtesy car at the Jefferson County Airpark. During the last meeting, commissioners objected to usage of the vehicle for employees’ personal use. Folden said that provision had been amended.

“When you look (at the vehicle’s policy manual) there’s no personal (airpark employees’) use there,” said Folden.

The airpark purchased a 2005 Dodge Van as a courtesy vehicle for pilots at the airpark after requests were made from several pilots flying into the airport. Graham thanked Folden for looking into the matter concerning usage of a vehicle for pilots.

“There were 42 requests that pilots wanted to use this,” he said, adding he had no idea other airparks used courtesy vehicles. “I wasn’t going to support this until I heard that.”

Commissioners indicated they were satisfied with the amended policy.

– Commissioners agreed to a request from Knox Township Trustee Donnie Elder and surrounding residents concerning vacation of several alleys in New Somerset. Commissioners attended a public viewing of the alleys during their previous meeting.

“There was pretty much overwhelming support for the vacation of these alleys,” said Gentile.

– Commissioners approved a contract between Jefferson County Job and Family Services and the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court for child support enforcement agency cases. The contract, which begins Jan. 1, costs $120,098, with the federal government picking up 66 percent of the cost, according to Betty Ferron, job and family services, children services director. The remainder of the cost would come from the county’s general fund, she added.

– Commissioners approved a contract of $59,860 with Valley Tree Service for 2014 on the recommendation of Jim Branagan, county engineer.