Harrison proposes projects for CDBG funds

CADIZ – Nine entities, including townships, fire departments/emergency squads, community centers and water districts, proposed projects for 2014 Community Development Block Grant funds in Harrison County.

The county commissioners announced Wednesday the three projects selected from the recommendations.

Harrison County commissioners approved emergency payments for homeless prevention, Archer Township rehab center repairs and the New Athens Volunteer Fire Department for purchase of four-way light and air packs for firefighters.

“At the meeting of the planning commission last night we discussed all of the recommendations,” Commissioner Don Bethel said. “Each one is a needed project in the respective community, and I feel it is a testament to our county that the decision to fund the homeless prevention was made a priority.”

“The money for the assistance program, which helps families and individuals make rent and helps people pay their utility and heating bills,was cut in the last budget,” Bethel added. “Unfortunately Harrison County’s funding is limited, but this $20,000 will aid in helping some of the most needy families.”

The Archer Township Community Center and New Athens VFD also will receive $20,000 in CDBG grants.

The commissioners approved an agreement with Consolidated Coal. The transaction includes a land swap where owner Consol Energy would trade property near the county garage to be used for a communications tower.

Two sections of county Roads 28 and 29 near New Athens off state Route 519 were rendered unusable by strip mining in the 1990s and were no longer passable, but because of mining on the new route, to be designated as county Road 29, Consol has agreed to add a 60-foot wide extension and reconstruct the road from state Route 519 to county Road 38. Under the terms of the agreement the county will have 10 years to complete construction of the road.

Failure to do so would allow the land to revert back to the coal company.

Harrison County commissioners amended an agreement leasing industrial park acreage to CBM Ohio, a Cadiz-based shale gas market company.

The agreement reduced the acreage from 357 acres to 324 acres, which reduced the amount the county receives to $1.124 million.

“I would like to thank CBM for their willingness to work with the county on resolving this,” Bethel said referencing a lengthy dispute over mineral rights for the property. “In stead of battling in the court system, we sat down with them and came to an agreement.”

“Essentially we went from $0 to over $1 million because of their willingness to negotiate,” the commissioner added. “It is an unexpected windfall for the county.”

Doug Crabtree, Harrison County engineer’s office business service officer, opened bids for the county Road 14 south paving project. Two bids were received. Lash Paving submitted the low bid of $208,150, while Shelly and Sands’ bid was $224,811.60. Crabtree requested that due to the complexities of the grant, he be granted an extended period to review the bids.

The board passed an agreement of understanding with the Department of Job and Family Services setting the monthly rent for the building at $0. Bethel questioned Director Scott Blackburn about the $5,000 that previously had been paid to the board for rent.

Blackburn stated the funds had been diverted into the budget to cover benefits for county residents.

Dave Rose asked the board to consider replacing the gun carriages on the cannon displayed in front of the courthouse. Rose cited the safety issue saying the tubes are loose and unsecured.

Rose said he had spoken with Historical Ordnance Works about building aluminum replacement carriages that would be historically accurate.