Water switch coming

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County commissioners announced Thursday the county has a tentative agreement with Mingo Junction to purchase bulk water, a move that eventually will lead to the county buying no water from Steubenville.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham said Mingo Junction has proposed selling the county water for $2 per 1,000 gallons. The agreement would be for five years with the cost increasing to $2.15 in the last two years of the agreement.

Graham said the city increased its bulk water rate to $2.46 per 1,000 gallons of water. He said the county will save $28,000 over five years by switching its bulk-rate purchases to Mingo Junction.

The county has already agreed to purchase additional bulk water from Toronto to service areas around Wintersville. Mingo Junction will provide water for the Sunshine Park area. The county will have to install 0.2 mile of a water line for Sunshine Park and may have to install a booster station to fill county water tanks.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile said the county connecting its system to Mingo Junction is a good idea for safety reasons.

“It is always a good idea to have the systems looped,” he said.

County Commissioner David Maple said he understands Steubenville’s position of not wanting to sell water at a loss.

“I hope they understand our position to seek out the lowest cost,” he said.

Commissioners also heard from Amy Mihalyo of Jefferson County Senior Services about the county allocating $90,000 of the $1.1 million in the county’s senior citizens services levy to the organization for the operation of the Jefferson County Senior Services senior center located at 132 Hollywood Blvd.

Mihalyo said the organization received foundation funding for programs at its senior center but needs operational money or it will be forced to close down.

The money from the county senior citizens services levy goes to Prime Time for meals for senior services, transportation services and health education.

Maple questioned Mihalyo if there would be a duplication of services provided by Prime Time and Jefferson County Senior Services.

“Do we need two centers that close?” Maple said.

“I don’t know what they do out there,” Mihalyo responded.

Mihalyo also questioned the levy language for Prime Time on the primary ballot asking for a renewal of the 1-mill levy and an increase of 0.2 mill.

Commissioners said they will ask the county prosecutor’s office for an opinion on the ballot language.

Commissioners also agreed to advertise for the Bradley area water line extension outside Smithfield. The project includes 12,600 feet of water lines and fire hydrants. There are 80 homes that could be connected to the line.

Graham said the county has received requests from residents in the Bradley area for more than a decade for water service.

Gentile said the county improved the Brilliant pumping station to provide more water to the south end of the county, and is looking at improvements to the Smithfield water tank.

Commissioners also:

Were informed by the state the county’s Community Development Block Grant funding for this year will be $159,000, a $9,000 decrease from last year.

Met with representatives of McKinley & Associates of Wheeling for discussions on improvements needed at the county-owned Towers building on Market Street. The main roof, mezzanine roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs replaced. Portable equipment will be used this summer to improve the air conditioning, with permanent work on the main roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning to be completed in the fall.

The county is looking at a bond through a bank to make the improvements.

– Were informed of a $314,575 increase in Workforce Investment Act funding, which will be used by the Community Action Council to train 45 displaced workers in truck driving to get a commercial driver’s license.

– Agreed to advertise for mowing services along county roads at the request of the engineer’s department.

– Were informed the county’s Drug Task Force will be auctioning nine vehicles at 6 p.m. on April 16 at the drug task force office, 340 S. Hollywood Blvd. The vehicles were confiscated during drug investigations.

– Proclaimed April as Fair Housing Awareness Month in the county.

– Proclaimed next week as National Crime Victim’s Week. A vigil is scheduled for noon on April 19 at the Jefferson County Justice Center.