Communities to receive $181,689 in recreation funding

STEUBENVILLE — Communities around Jefferson County will receive a total of $181,689 for recreation for 2018.

The county commissioners made the annual recreation allocations Thursday, concluding a process that took several weeks of review before the money was awarded.

The county had $228,999 to allocate and the commissioners winnowed down the requests based on prior performance.

‘We reviewed every project and scaled it back to where we thought it should be. All entities getting money are the ones who turned in receipts, did their projects and provided requests and estimates,” Commissioner Thomas Graham said.

He indicated that there is a chance for more money to be provided for communities that supply their completed filing. Dillonvale, he noted as an example, hadn’t provided an estimate with its application. Graham also noted Wintersville did not submit a request this year.

The community awards for 2018 are: Toronto, $10,000, Steubenville, $10,000; Adena, $11,000; Amsterdam, $5,000; Bergholz, $6,700; Bloomingdale, $6,700; Empire, $5,000; Irondale, $7,500; Mingo Junction, $10,000; Mount Pleasant, $8,000; New Alexandria, $2,500; Rayland, $5,000; Richmond, $15,000; Smithfield, $6,439; Stratton, $4,000; and Yorkville, $2,100.

Township awards are: Brush Creek, 9,800; Cross Creek, $8,250; Island Creek, $2,700; Knox, $12,000; Mount Pleasant, $2,500; Ross, $2,000; Salem, $5,000; Saline, $9,500; Springfield, $4,000; Steubenville (township), $4,400; and Wells Township, $7,300.

“It’s one of the favorite aspects of our job,” Graham said of sending money back to communities. It’s a good feeling to do something positive to help communities that don’t have the money,” he said.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said, “We take this very seriously and we go through every request,” he said.

The issue of junked and abandoned cars on properties around the county was brought up by Assistant Prosecutor Frank Bruzzese. About a year ago, he submitted a summary and a proposed response plan for dealing with abandoned cars. He noted each political subdivision in Ohio falls under different rules and the issue is complicated. He put together a “one-size-fits-all” method, he said, but no village or township has undertaken enforcement on its own. He suggested the county take on the issue by naming a full-time enforcer and attorney to handle abandoned cars.

“If it’s as big a problem as it seems to be, it might be a full-time job for an inspector to do the law enforcement and an assistant prosecutor to handle legal issues,” he said.

County Commissioner Dave Maple expressed concern that an issue that doesn’t really fall under the power of the county commissioners would end up in the commissioner’s laps. He said township and village officials are elected to do the work.

“I’m concerned about shifting what completely is their responsibility under the Ohio Revised Code, taking it off of them and giving it to the commissioners,” he said.

On the other hand, Gentile said, with economic development opportunities arising, the countywide cleanup issue has to be addressed.

“We have to feel what our threshold of pain is for this,” he said.

Commissioners took the issue under advisement.

To be discussed next week is the question of summer employees to assist in building and grounds upkeep at county properties. Bob DiFonzo, county facility maintenance supervisor, said it took five hours just to use weed trimmers around the county justice center.

The county will check on the availability and possibility of using summer youth employed through the Community Action Council summer jobs program. DiFonzo said an issue for hiring temporary help directly would be finding time to provide proper supervision.

Debbie Hukill, county fair board treasurer, said the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio will be giving the county a break on its electric bill at Friendship Park. The fair board had requested having the bill reduced except during the fair.

Also, Barry Bardone of the Jefferson County Veterans Association said the Vietnam Veterans Traveling Wall will be making a stop this summer in the county. Discussions will be held on the potential of making the wall stop during the county fair.

Commissioners approved a resolution marking May as Foster Parent Recognition Month.

Betty Ferrin, director of the county job and family services, said the annual dinner honoring foster care families will be held at 5:30 p.m. May 15.

“Foster families get calls at all different times of the day or night asking if we can place a child,” she said. “They open their hearts and homes to the children to make them feel safe and comfortable until we can reunite them with their families or find an adoptive family for them. We truly appreciate all they do for us.”

In other matters:

¯ Commissioners approved awarding a $3.5 million bid to Cattrelll Cos. of Toronto for the Towers heating and ventilation system and roof replacement.

¯ $500 will be provided each to American Legion Post 525, Brilliant Post 573 and the Piney Fork Legion post for Memorial Day expenses.

¯ Commissioners awarded a $5,700 addendum to its contract for work at the county justice center to obtain equipment to tie together new and old air conditioning and heating systems to make them work more efficiently. The off-agenda item was requested by Joe Colabella, juvenile court administrator, and will be added to the work being done by H.E. Neumann Co. on the HVAC system at the center.

¯ Road use maintenance agreements were approved with Gulfport Energy for county Road 1 and Warren Township Road 112 for a temporary water pipeline, and with Ascent for a new well site in Mount Pleasant Township. Gentile abstained because of his business interests in oil and gas.

¯ A road agreement with AEP was concluded and its bond released for a transmission line upgrade on roads in Springfield Township.

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