County commissioners talk flooding, recognize Toronto HS baseball team

CHAMPIONS — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday presented Toronto High School baseball players and coaches with a proclamation recognizing them for winning the Division IV state title. Participating were, from left, front, Carson Meek, Kobe Herrick and Jory Clapham; back, coach Brian Perkins; Commissioners Thomas Graham, David Maple and Tom Gentile; and assistant coach Rich Crowe. -- Mark Law

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday were updated on road damages caused by flooding rain this week.

Jefferson County Engineer James Branagan said roads in the northern and central parts of the county suffered damage from the heavy rains. Hollow Rock Road (county Road 51) suffered the most damage as portions of the road shoulder and pavement were washed away by high water. He said most of the culverts plugged by debris have been cleared.

Scott Featner Road, a Cross Creek Township road, remains closed after a large landslide.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said the township has spent a substantial part of its annual road budget on getting the road reopened. Gentile asked what could be done to help the townships impacted by the rain.

Branagan said the county received a federal disaster declaration from flooding rains in February. He said, in the past, FEMA has allowed damages done after the declaration to be added. But he added that may be difficult to do now because of the large amount of weather-related disasters across the country.

Gentile said he wants U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, to be invited to the county to view the damage.

Terry Bell of the county township trustees’ association, said five townships, Saline, Knox, Cross Creek, Wayne and Island Creek, have suffered road damage and slips and landslides associated with heavy rains so far this year.

Jefferson County 911 reported sections of county Roads 40 and 56 are closed due to pavement being destroyed. Township Roads 204, 350, 370 and 371 are closed because pavement has been washed away.

Commissioners opened bids for a slip repair on county Road 68. The engineer’s estimate is $79,198. Howard Bowers Contracting of Wintersville submitted the sole bid of $73,851. Branagan said he is anticipating FEMA might pay for part of the project, since it was caused by heavy rains in February. Branagan said he hasn’t met with FEMA representatives yet, but the road needs to be repaired.

Commissioners also opened two bids to repave a section of county Road 78 and other various township roads using funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The engineer’s estimate is $466,457. NLS Paving of St. Clairsville submitted the apparent low bid of $494,606.

Commissioners agreed to readvertise for the county Road 7B improvement project, including paving, sidewalks and drainage, using a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant. All the bids opened last week were well over the estimated cost of $497,752. Branagan said the specifications were rewritten to hopefully lower the cost.

Commissioners also:

¯ Approved attorney fees for indigent criminal defendants for June in the amount of $26,355.

¯ Agreed to the appointment of Eric Timmons of Steubenville and an employee of Wesbanco to the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association revolving loan program board. Commissioner David Maple said Timmons, who also is a member of Steubenville City Council, will have to be cautious in approving any loans within the city.

¯ Approved four contracts between the Jefferson County Job and Family Services Department, Children Services Division, with out-of-county facilities for housing troubled youth. The contracts range from $120 a day to $468 a day.

¯ Approved a road use maintenance agreement with Ascent Resources for a new gas well in Wayne Township. Roads the company already upgraded for existing wells will be used as haul loads, Branagan said.