Public voices concerns, comments

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Commissioners heard comments and concerns from the public when they held their regular meeting Wednesday.

Michael Bianconi, Pease Township trustee and former county commissioner, spoke about several matters, including the issue of whether to continue with Washington County or the state for building inspection. The Cumberland Trail Fire Department has come before commissioners with issues about the inspection process, including the requirement of detectors at the new mall addition.

Port Authority Director Larry Merry said the Washington Township inspection process offered advantages over the state system. He said the state is unable to prioritize inspections, which can lead to unnecessary local delays.

He added that difficulties the fire department has experienced are primarily due to a need for better communication and to problems with the code itself. More than 50 Ohio counties use similar systems.

Commissioner Charles R. Probst Jr. said he would vote to resume state inspections when the matter came before the board for a decision. He noted the Washington County system would take the choice to join away from the unincorporated areas.

Commissioner Ginny Favede added reservations about utilizing another county.

In addition, Bianconi noted the 911 board required a new member.

In other matters, Clarence Briggs of St. Clairsville suggested that a committee including representatives from every senior center in the county should be formed to review major proposals regarding senior services before these matters go before the commissioners.

In other business:

Commissioners accepted two bids for resurfacing the parking lot behind the courthouse and repairing the retaining wall and other related work.

Commissioners motioned to grant the final plat for Hidden Springs Sixth Addition, Richland Township, Section 18.

Commissioners motioned to approve a request to reduce the current 30-foot building setback line to a 19.5 building setback line for Lot 15 in Ohio Riverview Estates Subdivision in Pultney Township.

Commissioners motioned to advertise for bids for the Belmont County Engineer’s bridge replacement project on Town Hill Road at Powhatan Point.

Commissioners approved an Ohio Public Works disbursement request for $1,767,621.81 for the Neffs Sanitary Sewer Project Phase I.

Commissioners motioned to enter into an agreement with Michael Baker Jr., Inc., on behalf of the county emergency management agency totaling $25,000 for the hazard mitigation plan update.

Commissioners motioned to approve the purchase of a modified handicapped mini-van for Belmont County Senior Services from the Braun Corp. for the state purchase price of $34,811.

Commissioners motioned to approve a change order of $269.42 for Waller Corp. for adaptive re-use of the historic sheriff’s residence.

Commissioners motioned to accept a proposal from HITEK Security Solutions of $14,240.

Commissioners will acknowledge receipt of a proposal of the recorder requesting a continuance of the General Fund Supplemental Equipment Grant and an increase in amount of fees deposited into the fund. Commissioners will meet with the recorder to further review the proposal.

The county will advertise for water plant operators and utility workers to fill openings due to upcoming retirements. Up to six people may be hired full-time.

Commissioners will send letters to state officials and federal and state EPA urging their cooperation to resolve environmental issues at the Yorkville Plant.

DeFrank can be reached at