St. C. eyes improvements

ST. CLAIRSVILLE City council reviewed several proposed and ongoing projects during Monday’s meeting.

Council heard from Joe Miller of Project Best, following up on a prior visit, where he recommended the benefits of using of bid criteria language when placing projects out for bid. He had provided a sample ordinance earlier,

In answer to council members’ questions, Miller said the bid language would not intrude of the city’s sovereignty in managing projects. He added that neither Project Best nor the unions were connected with the proposal. It was merely a tool to find quality local service.

“We’re just in the business of promoting this tool because we feel that since it helps find the best contractor, we’re confident that our contractors are the best,” he said.

Mayor Robert Vincenzo noted that the city currently follows most of the bid criteria already. He added that he had reservations about whether a clause in the contract would be accepted in the event of state and federal projects.

Miller said the city has the discretion to use or not use the criteria with a given project, and the sample criteria could be modified to suit a municipality’s needs before passing it.

Council will consider the matter and obtain input from the service director.

Regarding the city infrastructure, three lift station pumps are being worked on due to malfunctioning pumps, control panels, and check valves. At the wastewater plant, two rotating biological contacts and a pistagrit went down. The pistagrit’s repairs should come to $4,500.

In addition, final report from smoke testing the sewers has been filed with the EPA, completing a three-year project to show compliance.

Also, Vincenzo noted the engineer is looking into the possible replacement of 1,500 feet of sewer line along Criswell Road to the sewer plant. Council will await word on costs.

“That’s been a nagging problem for the last 20 years,” said Vincenzo, adding that they are also looking into other trouble spots for sewer line replacement.

Finance Director Cindi Henry noted the high phone bills and reported that the city has signed a three-year contract with World Radio Communications, which has conducted a phone audit and is running a line to the wastewater plant and upgrading phones in the rec center. Henry expects the phone bill to be reduced by half.

Also, council held the first reading of an ordinance for the pick-up of police pension through a payroll reduction.

Also, with the coming spring weather, the electric company asks residents to trim their foliage for meter readers. Tree trimming will begin soon.

Regarding the fire district, one part-time member resigned and two were hired. No further part time hires are planned unless there are further resignations. The fire board will meet March 27.

Council approved the mayor’s appointments of Jeremy Greenwood and Phil Cole to the Architectural Board of Review and Jeff Vaughn to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

The Planning Commissioner will meet March 18, 6 p.m. to discuss the proposed Sunset Drive minor subdivision. Two lots are being proposed.

DeFrank can be reached at