County Road 7B south to be rebuilt

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday signed paperwork for a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant agreement to rebuild county Road 7B south of Mingo Junction.

The county regional planning commission obtained the competitive grant on its fourth try after the application wasn’t funded on three prior attempts.

Martin Sohovich, regional planning director, said the project includes replacing or rebuilding 12 catch basins and storm sewers, including 380 feet of collapsed sewer lines, 21,000 square feet of new sidewalks, 4,450 feet of concrete curbs, two failing retention walls and the repaving of 0.69 mile of road.

The county engineer’s department will do the design work.

Engineer James Branagan said a bridge in the area will be replaced prior to work beginning.

Sohovich said the road has been heavily damaged from truck traffic and is in danger of flooding, which may impact a county sewer lift station.

Branagan said the engineer’s department doesn’t normally do all the extra work, such as the sidewalks, when it repaves a road, but he noted the current sidewalks are a hazard, especially to older residents living in the neighborhood.

Officials with Mingo Junction also are applying for grants to repave sections of Commercial Avenue inside the village limits. Commercial Avenue becomes county Road 7B outside the village line.

In other matters, commissioners signed paperwork on behalf of Trinity Health System to allow the hospital to begin purchasing outpatient medication, such as cancer treatments, through a federal government program. Jim Dumpman, Trinity finance director, said the county has met the federal threshold for low-income residents receiving medical service.

The federal government negotiates outpatient prescription medicine costs with manufacturers, which will help lower costs for the hospital. Dumpman said the hospital last year did $5.5 million in charity care and had $12 million in bad debt for bills that can’t be collected from patients.

He believes the savings in lower outpatient prescriptions will cut the charity and bad debt numbers.

In other business, commissioners:

¯ Heard from Michael Eroshovich, county water and sewer department director, said there were nine water line breaks last week, mainly in the Bergholz and Amsterdam areas, due to the cold temperatures.

¯ Received the December animal shelter report showing 70 dogs were brought into the shelter, with 33 dogs being carried over from previous months. No dogs were euthanized. There were 54 dogs adopted and 21 county humane society cases.

For the year, 832 were brought to the shelter, with 578 dogs adopted. Sixteen dogs were euthanized for the year. Twenty nine dogs were born at the shelter. There were 115 county humane society cases. Chad Coil, county dog warden, said euthanization rate amounted to less than 2 percent, well below the average of similar animal shelters.

¯ Signed a road-use maintenance agreement with Ascent Resources — Utica for a new gas well in Cross Creek Township. County Roads 22A, 23 and 26 and Cross Creek Township Road 184 are designated as haul roads. Ascent will have to make road improvements prior to well construction, Branagan said.

¯ Signed a road-use maintenance agreement with Utica Gas Services for a new gas pipeline. County Road 78 and Springfield Township Road 267 are designated haul roads. The company has posted a bond for road maintenance, Branagan said.

¯ Agreed to allow DS Architecture to begin design work on improving parking lots across from the Towers building on Market Street. Commissioner Thomas Graham said the county is working on a grant for the project.

Commissioner David Maple said, regardless of grant money, it is a project the county needs to be completed.