Mingo officials upbeat, optimistic

MINGO JUNCTION — Village officials commented during Tuesday’s Village Council meeting about the positive outlook for the community.

Village Administrator Bob Smith said the water treatment plant might have to add a second shift to handle the proposed water requests from the JSW Steel USA mill.

JSW announced in June it had purchased the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel mill and is planning an initial $250 million investment to get the electric arc furnace, the continuous caster and the hot strip mill back into full production.

Kyle Moffat, wastewater plant operator, said he has been approached by a couple of businesses interested in building frack water treatment facilities near the village’s wastewater treatment plant. He said the fluid will then go through the village’s plant before being discharged.

“Positive things are happening,” said Mayor Ed Fithen. “Things are looking up and brighter.”

Council approved a three-year contract with the 13 village employees who are members of the Communication Workers of America. The agreement calls for a 7 percent increase in the first year and 3 percent increases in the second and third years of the contract. The workers are at the water and wastewater plants, service department and village building.

Council voted 5-1 to approve the agreement, with Councilman George Irvin casting the lone vote against the contract. He said there are no certainties for the village’s finances in the future.

“You can’t guarantee what will be happening in three years,” he said.

The union has not had a pay increase in more than eight years.

Council in April approved a pay increase for the police officers and firefighters union. Their contract calls for a 6 percent pay increase in the first year and 3 percent pay increases in the second and third year.

Smith said paving work is in progress on McLister Avenue. He said the contract is for $100,000, and it includes milling the pavement down and applying new asphalt.

He also will be experimenting with chip-and-seal work on several less- traveled streets, including St. Clair Avenue. He said the county engineer’s department will do the chip and seal for about $15,000.

Smith also commented on the Commercial Avenue paving project. The state controlling board on Monday released $215,553 in funding for the work to rebuild the road from the entrance to the water plant to the south mill gate. The total project cost is $645,000 with the Ohio Department of Transportation kicking in $150,000 and JobsOhio providing $215,551.

He said the village’s share will be around $10,000.

Councilman Jack Brettell made a motion that Smith receive 2.5 percent of any grant written by Smith that is funded.

Councilmembers Jodilynn Fitzgerald, Irvin and Adam Peeler voted against the motion, with Councilmembers Brettell, Michael Herrick and Jeffrey Schuetz voting in favor. Fithen broke the tie with an affirmative vote.

Fitzgerald said she voted against it because Smith is being paid $1,500 a month. She said Smith is being paid $500 a month more than the previous administrator because Smith has engineering and grant-writing experience.

Council, at the request of council’s water and sewer committee, increased the water reconnect fee for structures which had water service turned off. The fee was increased to $75 for regular working hours and $100 for after hours.

Irvin, who chairs the water and sewer committee, said the committee is recommending rental property owners receive a duplicate water and sewer bill for tenants so the landlord can be aware of delinquencies. Irvin said the committee is not recommending the water and sewer bills be placed in the landlord’s name.

Schuetz, who owns a funeral home in the village, handed out letters he is submitting to the village’s planning commission about changing an ordinance so he can install a crematory at the funeral home.

Schuetz said he wants a planning commission meeting scheduled so he can explain the crematory request.

Wilson said crematories are not allowed in residential areas in the village.

Schuetz said there are more than 100 crematories in Ohio, some of which are located in residential areas. He said there is a crematory in Toronto in a residential area.

Council agreed to bring in a resolution honoring former village Mayor John “Wiz” Fabian, who died on May 28.

Fabian’s long political career included 26 years as a Steubenville Township trustee, eight years on Mingo Junction council and 10 years as village mayor.

Council’s health and pension board will meet at 6:30 p.m. on July 24.