Harrison CDBG projects funded

CADIZ – Nine entities, including townships, fire departments, emergency squads, community centers and water districts, proposed projects for the 2014 Community Development Block Grant in Harrison County. The commissioners announced Wednesday the three projects selected from the recommendations.

Harrison County commissioners approved emergency payments for homeless prevention, Archer Township rehab center repairs and New Athens village VFD for purchase of four-way light and air packs for firefighters.

“At the meeting of the planning commission last night, we discussed all of the recommendations,” Commissioner Don Bethel said. “Each one is a needed project in the respective community, and I feel it is a testament to our county that the decision to fund the homeless prevention was made a priority.”

“The money for the assistance program which helps families and individuals make rent and help people pay their utility and heating bills was cut in the last budget,” Bethel added. “Unfortunately Harrison County’s funding is limited, but this $20,000 will aid in helping some of the most needy families.”

The Archer Township Community Center and New Athens VFD will also receive $20,000 in CDBG grants.

The commissioners passed agreement 16-14 with Consolidated Coal. The transaction includes a land swap where owner Consol Energy would trade property near the county garage to be used for a communications tower for release from the bond on the former roads.

The two sections of road on CR 28 and 29 near New Athens off SR 519 were rendered unusable by strip mining in the 1990s and were no longer passable, but because of mining on the new route to be designated as CR 29, Consol has agreed to add a 60 ft. wide extension and reconstruct the road from SR 519 to CR 38 Airport Road. Under the terms of the agreement, the county will have 10 years to complete construction of the road. Failure to do so would allow the land to revert back to the coal company.

Harrison County commissioners amended an agreement leasing Industrial Park acreage to CBM Ohio, a Cadiz-based shale gas market company. Agreement 19-14 reduced the acreage of the agreement from 357 to 324 acres which reduced the amount the county receives to $1.124 million.

“I would like to thank CBM for their willingness to work with the county on resolving this,” Bethel said, referencing a lengthy dispute over mineral rights for the property. “Instead of battling in the court system, we sat down with them and came to an agreement.”

“Essentially we went from $0 to over $1 million because of their willingness to negotiate,” the commissioner added. “It is an unexpected windfall for the county.”

Harrison County Engineer’s Office Business Service Officer Doug Crabtree opened bids for the CR 14 south paving project. Two bids were received. Lash Paving submitted the low bid of $208,150 while Shelly and Sands bid was read at $224,811.60. Crabtree requested that due to the complexities of the grant which funds the project, he be granted an extended time period to review the bids.

The board passed an agreement of understanding with the Department of Job and Family Services setting their monthly rent for their building at zero dollars. Commissioner Bethel questioned director Scott Blackburn about the $5,000 which had previously been paid to the board for rent. Blackburn stated that the funds had been diverted into the budget to cover benefits for county residents.

Dave Rose asked the board to consider replacing the gun carriages on the cannon displayed in front of the courthouse. Rose cited the safety issue saying the tubes were loose and unsecured.

Rose said he had spoken with Historical Ordinance Works about building aluminum replacement carriages which would be historically accurate. The board asked Rose to research the project further and return with a price for the replacements.

Rose also thanked the board for their generosity in ordering flags and markers for veterans’ graves. He stated that the new brass markers and flags had been received and hoped local residents would visit a cemetery this upcoming holiday.

In other business: The board appropriated $30,000 in grant funding into the Health Department budget.

Jonathan Roales, Agriculture and Natural Resource Technician for the Harrison County Soil and Water Conservation District announced that Keila Telfer, a recent graduate of Kent State and Harrison Central alumni, would be replacing Lori Morey as the District Program Administrator.

Palmer may be reached at mpalmer@timesleaderonline.com.