Commissioners address road maintenance

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Commissioners answered infrastructure questions during Wednesday’s meeting.

John Henthorne, a guest, noted the poor condition of many roads and asked if the commissioners could make additional funds available to the engineer’s office. Commissioner Matt Coffland said a half-million dollars had been earmarked for guardrails and bridge beams so the engineer might fully devote funding to paving.

Coffland added that the county has made good application of road use maintenance agreements. He noted that the board has negotiated with oil and gas companies to pave roads they use heavily. Considerable road paving has been done in the western portion of the county and the work is moving east.

Commissioner Ginny Favede said so far $3 million has been spent re-paving county roads by road use maintenance agreements. She noted that agreements call on oil and gas companies to improve roadways or restore them.

A total of $12 million is still needed for road improvements. In addition only 12 wells are currently being fracked and 65 are permitted. She said the commissioners want to be certain that tax money is not spent on roads that will benefit from road use maintenance agreements.

Also, Favede noted that the commissioners have been asking for a severance tax increase. The ultimate amount was 2.75 percent in the governor’s budget after the region’s oil and gas companies testified to the need for the tax to be returned to local governments to offset infrastructure costs to roads and water and sewer improvements. The state legislature is still considering the matter.

In answer to a question from Frank Papini, Coffland said the county has not yet benefitted from royalties from well site use.

Commissioners signed Standby Generator Preventative Maintenance Agreements with Erb Electric Co. for semi-annual maintenance for the courthouse and 911 generators. These include the courthouse generator for $350 per year and the 911 generator at $2,100 per year, at $525 for each of the four 911 generators.

Favede was authorized to sign the state Appalachian Grant Program agreement between Ohio Development Services Agency and the commissioners, March 1, 2014-April 30, 2015 in the amount of $100,000 for sanitary sewer line and two items of equipment to increase the capacity of the sanitary sewer district and connect the Ohio Valley Mall.

Coffland was authorized to sign a subgrant award agreement for the purchase of 12 Panasonic Toughbook Notebook PCs for the sheriff’s patrol fleet. The project total comes to $12,920.12 with grant funds at $9,690.08.

Coffland was authorized to sign the Oakview Juvenile Residential Center’s initial budget request to the Ohio Department of Youth Services for Fiscal Year 2015 for $1,108,732.46.

Commissioners motioned to reject all bids received to remove and replace the HVAC system at the DJFS Martins Ferry building and to re-bid. This was necessary due to an omission in the original bid specs.

Commissioners accepted a copy of the juvenile court’s 2013 report.

Coffland was authorized to sign the 2014 Emergency Management Performance Grant Budget Certification to the Ohio EMA for $128,466.

Commissioners approved and signed the agreement for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program declared July 13, 2011 for $41,020 for a period effective Feb. 15, 2014-Feb. 14, 2016 to acquire and demolish a repetitively flooded residential structure.

Commissioners adopted a resolution designating AC Wiethe as the board’s agent to execute the necessary documents to obtain federal financial assistance for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program declared July 13, 2011.

Commissioners accepted a proposal from Petticord & Son, Inc., for $3,645 for painter’s labor and material for the animal shelter.

DeFrank can be reached at