Harrison officials push for road safety

CADIZ – Harrison County Commissioners took another step to ensure the safety of residents traveling county roads as they passed a resolution Wednesday requiring permit fees for road opening permits.

Resolution 21-13 charges the same fees as a Carroll County resolution passed in July.

The fee for commercial driveway permits will be $100 with a $250 fee for any additional driveway signage. Road opening permits for excavation or boring parallel to or crossing the pavement will cost $250 and excavations within the right-of-way but outside of the pavement $100. Road opening permits may require an additional performance bond at the Engineers Office.

In addition, Harrison County will also charge $150 for hauling permits on county highways.

“These RUMA agreements with oil and gas companies do not give them the right to run a track hoe or bulldozer up and down public roads, it just gives them the access to use the road,” said Commissioner Dale Norris. “The RUMA agreement also does not allow them to haul this type of equipment over the roads without a hauling permit approved through the county engineer’s office.”

“If they are going to move a dozer in or if they are going to move a track hoe in or anything like that, the RUMA does not cover that they have to obtain a hauling permit,” Norris reiterated.

“These have to be monitored and that does not come free,” explained Commission Chair Don Bethel. “These charges will at least assist the engineer’s department defray some of the costs for monitoring all of these permits.”

John Lovejoy, a resident of Harrison County on CR 51, asked the commissioners how residents can make sure that the numerous trucks traveling their roads with equipment and heavy loads have been issued the proper permits for using the route. “I live on a little dinky road and the sheer volume of traffic passing in front of my house is overwhelming.”

“That is a good question,” Bethel responded. “If there is a third party contractor using that road, how is that person supposed to know who that guy is working for and if that particular person has the proper permission for that road?”

Commissioner Bill Host reminded that Brandi Burton, commissioners’ clerk, has kept a list of all the RUMAs issued, which is available in their office.

“By rights they should have a manifest showing that,” Norris responded. “The county engineer’s office has all of that information, and you could call them.”

“According to the rules in the RUMA, the contractor is to have a copy of all of the documents in their truck,” agreed Doug Crabtree, representing the engineer’s office.

“I am just saying that does not help Mr. Lovejoy or anybody else if they see a truck going down a road, how do they determine if that truck is allowed to be there?” Bethel countered. “License plate number, name on the side if they have one or a description of the truck, is that the only thing we can do?”

“I asked the same question when this all started a few years ago. I asked why all the companies bought the same white truck?” Crabtree stated. “It may just be to confuse everybody.”

“If they are doing anything illegal, call the sheriff’s office,” said Norris. “Otherwise, just get the information on their license plates and any numbers or names on the truck and report it to the engineer’s office.”

“Get that to the engineer’s office, and we will try and track it down,” said Crabtree.

Lovejoy also asked the commissioners to confirm a rumor that a large rail facility was slated for construction outside of Jewett in an area known as Freeman’s Forest.

Commissioner Bethel answered that the board could only speculate on the validity of the rumor, as they had just heard of the proposed project a few days ago and had no details.

“Officially, anything we could say at this time would be just conjecture,” said Bethel. “I realize that people who live in the area value their privacy and that is being infringed upon a little bit, but that comes with progress.”

“Development is a good thing, it is bringing jobs to the area,” said Bethel. “Jewett has felt like they have been left behind on this, and this is a positive for them.”

The three commissioners announced that both engineer Rob Sterling and the board had met with several oil and gas companies earlier in the week and had meetings scheduled in the next few days to discuss road repairs. The three commissioners were also going on a tour of some of the roads receiving the most complaints Wednesday afternoon to view the damage first hand.

In other business: The board appropriated an additional $250,000 into the Harrison County Home accounts for last quarter expenses.

County Home Superintendent Joy Taggart requested $28,000 for replacement of steel doors, all new counter tops, sinks and cupboard doors, $39,000 for all new paving around the home, $34,000 for final payment on a generator ($15,000 down payment already made), $10,000 for electrical upgrades, approximately $25,000 for a new water well, approximately$50,000 for replacement of all cement walkways and pads, $7,000 for painting back side exterior and chapel, $3,000 for plaster repairs in chapel and other areas, $9,000 for any unforeseen additional expenses in any of the above and $30,000 for last quarter food and other expenses.

Scott Blackburn, director of the Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), read a public notice for the Prevention, Retention, and Contingency (PRC) program. PRC is one program with three components. The prevention component is designed to provide services that will enable the family to forego the need for cash assistance. The retention component is designed to maximize the client’s ability to retain the job they already have or to obtain a better job. Services provided under the prevention and retention components are always work related and are similar in their scope. The contingency component is designed to provide assistance to deal with issues in the home, such as utility disconnects or eviction orders, that are a threat to the health or safety of the family.

The notice is available for public review at the DJFS office, the commissioners’ office and all local libraries in the county.

Blackburn also announced that his department will be hiring two entry level employees. Applications can be picked up and resumes will be accepted at the DJFS office until close of business Aug. 16.

Blackburn also announced that the Wind Storm Clean up grant will expire Aug. 23, but the county has filed for an extension. Currently there are 20 participants in the program.

The DJFS director also announced that the Summer Youth Program will come to an end Aug. 30. “It was a very successful summer with 24 participants working at 11 different work sites,” said Blackburn.

Commissioner Bethel suggested that the county look into utilizing the Summer Youth Program to fill summer employment positions next year.

The board also passed Resolution 22-13 permitting EMA Director Lorna Bower to act as agent for the county in application for Disaster Relief Assistance.

The board also appropriated $15,000 from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund into SYI 2014 for the Children’s First Council.

Finally the commissioners congratulated Kaci Carter of Cadiz, who has shown market turkeys at the Ohio State Fair for the past three years and raised this year’s grand champion market turkey.

“When she walked into the ring at the Sale of Champions last Sunday, she was the first-ever exhibitor from Harrison County to do so,” Bethel added. “A coalition of individuals and small businesses from the county donated $1,000 each and the bid set a new record of $13,000 for the grand champion turkey.”

Buyers included the Harrison County Commissioners along with CBC Pipeline, D&J Sales and Service Inc., Seleski Broiler Farm, Cadiz Animal Clinic, D&E Electric, Eberhart Service Center, Joe Myers, Harrison County Service, Willoughby & Company CPA, Clay’s Drive In, Toland Trucking and Energy Partners, LP.

“Kaci put Harrison County on the map, and the county’s residents rallied to support her in return.” said Bethel. “We are very proud of her accomplishment.”

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