Additional repairs are needed at jail

STEUBENVILLE — The ongoing renovation and repair projects at the Jefferson County Justice Center are going to require some additional funds, the Jefferson County Commissioners learned at Thursday’s meeting.

The board received correspondence from McKinley and Associates in regards to repairing the parapet walls at the justice center.

A problem with the parapet walls was discovered as the roof repair project has been ongoing. According to the letter from McKinley, two bids for the recommended repairs were more than $50,000, which is the threshold to require the project to be advertised for bid.

The commissioners moved to declare the project an emergency due to time sensitivity and potential cost increases if the project is delayed for bidding.

Because the project falls between $50,000 to $100,000 and was declared an emergency, the commissioners said per the Ohio Revised Code it will not require bids, but rather at least three quotes.

County maintenance supervisor Patrick Boyles was instructed to get the required quotes for the project.

Boyles then informed the commissioners about a snag with the ongoing cooling tower project that will require additional work and cost.

According to Boyles, the stand the old tower sat on, which had originally been planned to be cleaned, re-painted and re-used, was determined to be in too poor of shape to put the new tower on.

Boyles said a rough estimate for a new stand would be $20,000. Options to weld and repair the existing base were also discussed.

Boyles will get quotes and information on all potential options for the stand.

The commissioners also moved to renew their water purchasing agreement with the Village of Wintersville for two years at the previous rate. The move was also recently approved by Wintersville Council.

The CARES Act was again a topic, with a proposal for the county to grant funds out to private and non profit entities within the county as a topic of discussion with the county auditor’s office.

Commissioner Dave Maple, while noting other counties are already doing a similar program, raised concerns that state code does not grant the county commissioners the authority to do so.

“It’s in the CARES Act, but the state of Ohio hasn’t permitted an allowance for the county commissioners to do it, he said. “Everyone is doing it, I think the state is doing it, everyone is saying we should do it, but someone has to check the box or someone is going to come a year later and say ‘I don’t know what these counties were doing, they didn’t have the authority.'”

It was also noted there is a possibility the authority was in one of the recent Ohio House Bills, but has not been updated in the ORC yet.

The auditors office will continue to work on the plans for the proposal, while a legal opinion from the prosecutors office is pursued. Maple also said the County Commissioners Association of Ohio will be consulted on the matter.

A plan for hazardous material response for the county 9-1-1 board was approved.

The commissioners also approved a request from Island Creek Township for $6,265 for additional recreation funds to complete a project to replace the steps from the parking lot to the township’s ball fields.

After an executive session with representatives from the Department of Job and Family Services, the commissioners approved the hire of Jamie James as a case worker for children’s services.

Commissioner Thomas Graham was absent from the meeting.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com)


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