Commissioners transfer funds for pending projects

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Friday agreed to transfer $346,027 from a Medicaid tax payment from the state to be used to pay for part of two pending projects in the county.

Counties in Ohio were notified last year the state would no longer tax Medicaid payments. Jefferson County received a one-time lump sum payment of $2.2 million to replace the loss of the sales tax funding.

Commissioners received an opinion from the prosecutor’s office that the money could be used for various projects, as long as the board approves each transaction.

The commissioners will use $276,583 to fund part of the replacement of the electronic control boards at the county jail.

The control boards open about 120 secured doors in the adult jail and juvenile detention sections of the justice center. The existing boards are originals in the 20-year-old building and are failing.

DS Architecture, the county’s engineering consultant, reported the estimate for the project was $570,186. United Construction Co. of Parkersburg submitted the sole bid of $553,167 when bids were opened in July. The company is currently working on fabrication of the boards.

The commissioners approved using $69,440 to purchase voting booths for the board of elections to be used at polling places.

Commissioners were informed in July the state Legislature approved funding statewide for the new machines. Jefferson County will receive $807,528 for new voting machines.

Diane Gribble, board of elections director, said the board has decided to go with a paper ballot with optical-scanning machines. Gribble said the current touchscreen voting machines were purchased in 2005. She did note the county would need to purchase new voting booths.

Commissioners were informed by the Ohio Department of Health the county’s maximum share of payments for services for children with medical handicaps will be $137,746 in 2019.

The auditor’s office reported the county last year was assessed $142,000 for the maximum amount but only spent about $20,000. The money is used for diagnostic treatment and services.

The county years ago removed the levy paying for tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment and for children with medical handicaps. The fund still has a balance of $526,000. The auditor’s office reported the health department uses about $50,000 a year for the tuberculosis program. Once the account is depleted, the commissioners will have to pay for both programs out of the general fund.

Commissioners signed for the purchase of 0.331 acre of property in Amsterdam to be used as the location of a pump station for the Amsterdam sewer project. The cost of the purchase was $9,000. Commissioners also signed numerous easements in connection with the project.

Commissioners proclaimed October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at the request of the Women in Action Against Cancer Coalition, and Oct. 17 as Breast Cancer Awareness Day in the county.

Commissioners opened several bids for the removal of old vehicles and equipment no longer needed by the Jeffco Workshop or the county developmental disabilities program.

Commissioners will meet next week at 3 p.m. on Friday.

Jefferson County Engineer James Branagan released the work schedule for county highway department crews for next week:

– Patching –State Park-Mooretown Road (county Road 54); Costonia-Mount Tabor Road (county Road 56); Mount Zion Road (county Road 57); and Timothy Ridge Road (county Road 58).

– Slip repair –Warren Ridge-Smithfield-Rayland Road (county Road 15) is closed 0.7 mile from the intersection of state Route 150 in Rayland.

– Bridge replacement –Rush Run Road (county Road 17) is closed at a point 3.88 miles west of the intersection of state Route 7. Jug Run Road (Warren Township Road 115), the third bridge from state Route 150, is closed for a bridge replacement. A bridge on Roby Street in Adena is being replaced.