By MARK LAW
STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners Thursday took action to purchase less water from Steubenville after the city increased its bulk water rate.
Commissioners gave the county water and sewer department the OK to change valves and install a meter to supply water to Area O, which is the Overlook Hills Subdivision outside Wintersville, with the water to be purchased from Toronto.
The county will save about $19,000 a year by purchasing water from Toronto, according the county water and sewer department.
The area uses about 625,000 gallons of water a month, about 25 percent of the monthly water the county was purchasing from Steubenville.
County Commissioner Thomas Graham said the city increased its bulk water rate to $2.46 per 1,000 gallons of water, a 38 percent increase.
Graham asked the city to lower the increase further but the city refused, citing increasing costs to produce water.
Graham and county Commissioner Tom Gentile on Tuesday asked Mingo Junction to supply water to Sunshine Park and Area J outside Mingo Junction. Mingo Junction is preparing a cost estimate. A quarter of a mile of water line would have to be installed to connect the city and county systems with enough water to fill the county's water tanks servicing those areas.
If the county and Mingo Junction come to an agreement, the county will no longer have to purchase bulk water from the city.
County Commissioner David Maple said it is prudent for the county to look at all options to save money in purchasing water.
Commissioners also held the first of two public hearings concerning the Community Development Block Grant program administered by the county Regional Planning Commission.
Domenick Mucci, regional planning commission director, said the state expects to give the county $163,000 in CDBG funding. Tiltonsville, Bergholz and Steubenville Township each will get $45,600 for street-improvement projects. Fair housing activities in the county will get $6,000 and administration will cost $25,200.
A second public hearing will be scheduled for May.
In other matters, commissioners continued a discussion with the county humane society about adoption policies for dogs at the county's animal shelter. The county and the humane society entered into an agreement in May for the humane society to help in operations at the shelter, including the adoption of dogs and cats.
Maple questioned the humane society's policy of requiring adopted dogs be kept inside.
Sally Wehr, county humane society president, said dogs could be housed outside with written permission from the humane society. She said it all depends on the dog's breed.
Wehr said the former county animal shelter in 2006 had 776 dogs placed there, 66 dogs were adopted and 577 dogs euthenized. The shelter last year had 774 animals enter the shelter, 507 were adopted and 52 were euthenized.
Gentile said the figures show the relationship between the county and the humane society is working.
Maple complained that residents are having a hard time adopting dogs at the shelter, with dogs spending five months or longer in kennels there.
Wehr said the humane society's adoption policy is more liberal than other counties.
"This is not a huge issue," Wehr said.
She said some dogs are just more difficult to get adopted, adding the shelter gets a lot of pit bulls from Steubenville.
- Agreed to spend $1,645 to purchase computer software to track persons on probation through the three county courts, plus a $100-a-month fee. Dillonvale county court Judge David Scarpone said the probation officers at the county courts are using paper records, making it more difficult to quickly respond to a police department's inquiry about probation status.
- Were informed a public meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Smithfield Presbyterian Church for the Bradley water line extension project along county Road 20 and township Road 150. Residents of the 85 homes in the project area will have to sign up for connection at the public meeting or in writing at the county water and sewer office prior to work beginning.
- Were informed the county drug task force received an $11,969 grant from the Ohio Drug Law Enforcement Fund Grant to supply money given to confidential informants during drug investigations.
- Proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the county.