Jefferson County to expedite rebidding process

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday agreed to expedite the rebidding of the Amsterdam sewer project.

Commissioners opened bids last week for the $9 million project but had to reject the bids because they were well above the engineer’s estimate.

About 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, said Michael Eroshevich, county water and sewer department director. Raw sewage is being dumped into Yellow Creek.

Eroshevich said Arcadis, the county’s engineering consultant, has revised the estimates for the three phases of the project. He said the estimates were based on prior projects, but noted the market has changed.

Commissioners agreed to shorten the time the bids are advertised because Eroshevich said the county could lose a $1 million state grant if the work is not ready to go by the end of the year. Eroshevich said 69 percent of the project is covered with grants. If the county loses the $1 million grant, the commissioners will have to seek a loan to replace the money, he said.

The bids will be opened on Nov. 21, and, if the bids come in near the estimate, Arcadis will make a recommendation for contract awards the following week, Eroshevich said.

Commissioner David Maple said it is in the best interests of the residents to move quickly.

Eroshevich said even with the cost of the project increasing, he doesn’t at this time anticipate an increase to the tap-in fee paid by residents. Income-eligible residents can use Community Development Block Grant funding for the tap-in fee and to connect homes to the main lines.

Commissioners met with Luke Craft of DS Architecture about issues with the $533,000 project to install new controls to open 120 secure doors at the county jail and juvenile detention center. Officials at the Justice Center said there also is an issue with intercoms used by inmates to talk with corrections officers.

After a lengthy discussion, it was determined the interference now on the intercoms is outside the scope of the original work and was unforeseen. Commissioners agreed to pay $40,000 to have new speakers installed, which will solve the problem. Commissioners also asked the contractor to determine a cost to solve the problem of doors showing they are closed or open but are, in fact, just the opposite.

Commissioner Thomas Graham said it is a safety issue which has to be quickly solved.

Commissioner Tom Gentile argued the architect should have known there was going to be an issue. Maple said the county spent a lot of money on a system that isn’t properly working.

Commissioners were informed by county Engineer James Braining that Shelly & Sands has made improvements to its Rayland-area site and wants to help pave county Road 17A. Branagan said the paving company will basically charge the county the cost for repaving the road from state Route 7 to its facility. The paving of 2,900 feet of the road will cost the county $49,880.

Commissioners signed a contract between the county Job and Family Services Department and the Communication Workers of America Local 4527. The agreement calls for a 3 percent pay increase in each of the three years of the contract with the job and family services workers.

Commissioners received the October monthly report from the animal shelter, showing 86 dogs were brought in, with 28 dogs carried over from September, 50 dogs were adopted, 20 dogs were reclaimed and 14 were went to foster homes. One dog was euthanized because of a medical condition. There were six county humane society cases.