Commissioners express wish list for 2014

ST. CLAIRSVILLE In the closing days of 2013 the Belmont County commissioners shared their impressions of what turns the county has taken and what new developments they can hope for in the New Year.

“Economic development con tinues to bring new employment opportunities for the residents here and I hope for a good and positive answer to the Ormet issue,” said Commissioner Ginny Favede, noting the impact on the community. “We all have people who work there, and it’s amazing the trickle-down effect.”

She added that funding management at the state level continues to be a point of contention for locals.

“On a very personal level I continue to fight for the return of local government funds to local governments,” she said, adding that the funds would prove a benefit for communities, schools and libraries.

Senior Services also remains a busy department with services in demand. Favede said more than 900 meals were delivered in one of the latter weeks of December.

She noted the high points of the year for the county due to the influx of new businesses and facilities.

“The benefit to the landowners that the oil and gas has brought to them, the prosperity and the potential that it continues to bring. Finally getting a good financial footing for the future in this county.”

However, 2013 has had its share of disappointments.

“I continue to be disappointed that we continue to have layoffs at JFS. I’m very disappointed in the action and the inactions in regard to Ormet.”

Commissioner Matt Coffland hopes 2014 will see the issue of the Mall Road improvement project settled, as well as the structure and operations of DJFS. He noted the commissioners will continue to oversee smooth operations of the newly formed Senior Services Department, along with new industrial development. He praised the DJFS for their excellent job in running senior services.

Some of the year’s accomplishments include signing the oil and gas lease for 406 acres, or half the county’s acreage, for $75 hundred per acre. County courtrooms, the jail and parking lot have also seen renovations. Coffland praised the communication and cooperation between officials.

“I think we work very good with all the departments and all the departments work very well staying in their budgets through the year,” Coffland said.

He agreed that the area has potential for an ever-brighter future.

“We’ll make Belmont County in 2014 one of the most exciting years we’ve had in a long, long time,” he said.

Newly appointed Commissioner Mark Thomas shared his hopes for 2014, particularly the continued prosperity both at the county level and for private businesses.

“Collectively the public/private partnership that Belmont County shares with all of its employers is tantamount to economic success,” he said, adding that he hoped to foster that cooperation, with the county preparing the environment for continued growth.

Thomas said he also hopes to help facilitate the solidarity of the commissioners in the public eye.

“We wish residents of Belmont County Merry Christmas and a great 2014,” Coffland said.

DeFrank can be reached at