Grant to help Amsterdam sewer project

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday signed grant and loan applications to help fund the Amsterdam sewer project.

Approximately 400 homes will be serviced with the sewer system, with about one-fourth of them in Carroll County. The sewer system is needed because of faulty septic tanks, according to Michael Eroshevich, county water and sewer department director. Raw sewage is being dumped into Yellow Creek.

The project is estimated to cost around $10 million. Bids are expected to be opened later this year or early in 2019.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the county a $1.7 million grant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving the county $3 million each in grants and loans.

Commissioners on Thursday signed an Appalachian Regional Commission grant application for $250,000, an Ohio Public Works Commission grant application for $1.3 million and a $250,000 grant application through the Ohio Water Development Authority.

Thomas Hartwig of Arcadis, the county’s water and sewer consultant, said about 70 percent of the sewer project will be covered with grants and loans.

Commissioners also discussed the condition of a Smithfield street used to access the sewerage treatment plant. The county has taken over the village’s system and is making improvements. Eroshevich said the road is nearly impassable and Smithfield doesn’t have the money to make upgrades. The county prosecutor’s office has advised the county water and sewer department the legal way to make improvements to the village street.

Sally Wehr, county Humane Society president, gave the commissioners an update on operations of the humane society and the animal shelter.

She said 678 dogs and cats were brought to the animal shelter since the beginning of the year and there have been 569 adoptions. She said 92 dogs and cats were returned to owners and 26 were euthanized, with the euthanization rate at 3 percent. She noted the goal of a no-kill shelter is a 10 percent euthanization rate.

The humane society’s low-cost veterinarian clinic on Talbott Drive, Wintersville, is being used, in addition to the animal shelter, to provide medical services to the dogs and cats. The society’s volunteer program has expanded with the new volunteers being provided training by mentors, according to Wehr.

The humane society is hosting a companion animal fund run/walk at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 18. The walk will begin at the Cross Creek Township Police Station located at the Jefferson County Airpark. The fundraiser helps to partially pay the cost of medical treatment for dogs and cats for owners who may not be able to afford the care.

In other matters, commissioners signed a three-year labor agreement with Communication Workers of America members at the engineer’s department. County Engineer James Branagan said the 25 members of the union will receive a 3 percent increase every year during length of the contract. Commissioners noted it will cost an additional $45,000 a year.

Branagan, who also is a member of the Friendship Park board, said the park has received a $25,000 grant to expand recreational vehicle campsites at the park. He said it will cost about $90,000 for the 16 new sites.

The park has more requests for campsites than the number that are available, mainly from oil and gas workers in the area, it was noted.

Commissioners approved an energy purchasing agreement with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio for electricity. The program last year saved the county about $90,000 in electricity costs for county buildings. The program works similar to an electric aggregation program, with bids being received from electricity providers.

Commissioners agreed to advertise for bids on behalf of the engineer’s department for the painting of 207 miles of centerline on county roads. The engineer’s estimate is $95,298.

Commissioners announced the hiring of Crystal Conaway of Bloomingdale as a deputy clerk in the commissioners’ office.