License fee tax considered

ST. CLAIRSVILLE -The Belmont County commissioners heard from County Engineer Fred Bennett during Wednesday’s meeting. He brought up the possibility of an additional permissive license fee tax. These would include two $5 fees.

“We need additional revenues for our department,” Bennett said, noting a declining or stagnant revenue since 2008, due to issues such as inflation and a decrease in gas use.

He noted long-standing issues such as bridges in need of replacement and roads that must be paved. The bulk of the department’s funds come equally from license plate fees and the gas tax. In 2012, the revenue for those sources was $4,561,000, compared to 2007’s $4,677,000. The number of employees has been reduced from 49 in 2007 to 40.

“We’ve been as efficient as we can get,” he said, adding that further reduction would dent the department’s ability to plow snow in winter.

Noting $530,000 could be generated for the Engineer’s Department, Bennett added that the townships and municipalities are expected to benefit from the proposed increase as well.

The commissioners will schedule two public hearings before voting on a resolution to enact. The last day to notify the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is June 28. The first day to collect additional fees would be Jan. 1, 2014. Meeting days are to be announced.

In other matters, Pease Township Trustee Michael Bianconi again suggested that $1 million of additional funds of $1.7 million from last year and possibly more from this year be devoted to paving roads. Bianconi raised questions about expenses such as work on the Old Brick Tavern.

Commissioner Charles R. Probst Jr. noted this would take an additional certification from the county auditor since the commissioners have already appropriated all that was certified for this year. More, close to half the amount was devoted to increased insurance premiums.

Commissioner Matt Coffland added that the auditor certified $17.4 million with anticipation that would be taken in through sales tax and other sources. It must be determined if the increase of $1.7 million is over and above what was predicted.

Probst also noted the importance of forethought and planning in deciding how to expend finances even during a prosperous upturn of growth in the county. Coffland noted that the end of the first quarter is upcoming, with sales tax two months afterward. An accurate reading could be obtained by June or July.

In other matters, commissioners motioned to enter into a roadway use maintenance agreement for a compressor, pipeline and infrastructure with Ohio Gathering Co. LLC for the use of 3.90 miles of Belmont 128 or Boston Road, 2.15 miles of Belmont 102 or Johnson Ridge Road and 1.0 miles of Belmont 124, or Wright Road, for the purpose of ingress and egress for pipeline activity. A $5 million bond is on file.

Commissioners approved the signing and submittal of the 2013 Emergency Management Performance Grant Budget Certification to the Ohio EMA, in the amount of $126,243 on behalf of the Belmont County Emergency Management Agency.

Commissioners motioned to amend the motion of March 13 to accept the proposal from Progressive Communications of St. Clairsville for cameras for six 2013 Chevrolet Impala police vehicles for the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office. Total equipment price is $10,913.64. With labor, installation, shipping and handling, total cost is $12,923.64. This is an increase of $600. The vendor originally made an error and send a quote for the wrong cameras.

Commissioners motioned to approve and sign the certificate of substantial completion for Waller Corp. for the Historic Belmont County Sheriff’s Residence renovation project.

Commissioner Ginny Favede was authorized to execute an agreement with FP Mailing Solutions/Tamasovich Mailing Machine Service for postage meter rental for the Belmont County Courthouse. This includes one U20 Ultimail 95 PSD Rental, unlimited resets, UltiMail Rate Guard, for a term of 60 months at a total monthly payment of $53.

Favede also was authorized to execute a subgrant award agreement for the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office’s officer safety equipment grant. Total cost is $5,000.

Commissioners motioned to approve and sign the quit claim deed for the transfer of 6.074 acres, more or less, located in Richland Township, Section 27, Township 7, Range 4, part of a 46.63 acre tract from the county to the Community Improvement Corp.

Commissioners approved a motion to reappoint John S. Mattox to the Belmont-Harrison Juvenile District Board of Trustees for a three-year term effective March 31, 2013, through March 30, 2016. Thereafter, each appointment will be for a five-year term as set forth in the statute, which calls for staggered terms.

Attorney Michael J. Shaheen was reappointed to the Belmont-Harrison Juvenile District Board of Trustees for a one-year term effective March 31, 2013 through March 30, 2014.

Commissioners received seven bids for furnishing and delivering 4,000 feet and 8,000 feet of 6-inch blue PVC waterline for the Belmont County Sanitary Sewer District. Bids were turned over to the sanitary sewer district for review and recommendation.

Commissioners held a subdivision hearing regarding Brookfield Lane in Richland Township and motioned to grant the final plat for sections 23 and 29, T7, R4.

A resolution was adopted to change the name of Warren Township 167 from Wagner Road to Basket Road.

Commissioners entered into executive session with Department of Job and Family Services Director Dwayne Pielech and Lori O’Grady, human resources manager, regarding the discipline of a public employee and investigation of complaints against a public employee.

A resolution was adopted in recognition of Vietnam Veterans’ Day.

Commissioners will hold a town hall meeting April 25 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of the Bethesda Municipal Building, 118 S. Main St.

DeFrank can be reached at