JMHA board hears energy improvement update

STEUBENVILLE – A $5.9 million energy improvement project at Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority properties is proceeding on schedule and the authority soon should see the results in lower electric bills.

Andrew Why of the Tenth Avenue Group of Aliquippa, Pa., told the JMHA board of commissioners Wednesday the new trash compactors at the John F. Kennedy Apartment building and the Bridgeview apartment building, both located in Steubenville, and the Michael Terrace apartments in Toronto have been installed and are working.

“We are now focusing on putting in high efficiency lighting in all properties and are changing out hot water heaters. The weather hasn’t been cooperating with us but we are getting the work done,” said Why.

The energy improvement project started last August.

“Fort Steuben Maintenance is the general contractor and I am very pleased to say we are using local contractors and local vendors for the work,” Why added.

In other business during the monthly board meeting, the commissioners approved a $567,000 contract with Fort Steuben Maintenance Inc.d of Steubenville for renovations to the kitchens and bathrooms in the Schlernitzauer Apartments in Yorkville and the Merkel Apartments in Tiltonsville.

The board also approved a $272,937 contract with Jim Santini Builder Inc. of Washingtonville, Ohio, for the replacement of worn entry and storm doors at the Hamann Apartments, the Crabbe Boulevard Apartments and the Lovers Lane Circle Apartments in Steubenville.

JMHA Executive Director Joe Costantini told the board of commissioners he was notified Chase Bank will no longer accept lease payments in cash.

“Residents will need to send their rent statement with a check or money order to Chase Bank in Columbus. These changes were initiated by Chase Bank and not the JMHA,” said Costantini.

Costantini said the JMHA staff is working on improving its occupancy rates.

“If we are going to downsize our security then I think we need to reduce the number of scattered site housing units. We need to start picking and choosing who we let in our rental units. I want quality and not quantity,” said Commissioner Gerald DiLoreto.

“If people have their application in our system and they meet the qualifications, we can’t pick and choose if we will let them in,” responded Commission Chairman Les Zapor.

Costantini reported the carpet and tile replacement project at the JFK apartment building is under way.

“We plan to have the carpets washed every six months to maintain them properly,” noted Costantini.