Jefferson Co. commissioners weigh in on CDBG projects

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday heard about the application for more than $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant projects and the halting of paving work on the runway at the county airport.

Domenick Mucci, county Regional Planning Commission director, said the county is entitled to $159,000 in CDBG funding.

Bergholz, Steubenville Township and Tiltonsville each will receive $43,050. Bergholz will see paving projects on yet undetermined streets and Steubenville Township will see paving on Broadway Street, Farmers Lane and Emery Avenue in the George’s Run area. Tiltonsville will use the CDBG money as part of a financing package for a water line rehabilitation project on Maiden Lane.

Mucci said $6,000 of the CDBG money will be used for fair housing activities and $23,850 will be used for administering the CDBG program.

Mucci said two critical infrastructure projects also will be submitted to the state for funding under the CDBG program.

The county engineer’s department and Steubenville Township are seeking $300,000 for improvements to county Road 7B in George’s Run. The work will include paving about 0.69 mile of the road, 4,450 feet of new curbs installed, replace or repair 12 catch basins, replace about 380 feet of storm sewers and replace sidewalks.

Mucci said Toronto is seeking $150,000 as part of a financing package for the repair of the Titanium Way bridge. Toronto Mayor John Geddis said the money will offset the local share of the project, which is expected to begin in 2016.

Commissioners also were informed of problems associated with the paving of the runway at the county airport.

The county received state grants and contributed county money for the construction and paving of the extension of the runway and an asphalt overlay of the remainder of the existing runway.

Cracks on the runway were sealed by airport workers in recent years with a rubber material. Eric Exley, an engineering consultant for the airport authority, said a Shelly & Sands foreman informed county airport officials there may be a problem in putting asphalt over the rubber sealant. A test strip of asphalt was done early Thursday morning and the rubber sealant concerns proved true, with the asphalt “bubbling” over the sealant. The sealant was removed from the runway prior to the test strip of asphalt but Exley said the sealant may go deeper into the asphalt.

Michael Baker Corp. of Coraopolis, Pa., is the engineering firm for the project, with Exley serving as the inspector for the work.

Exley said putting an additional quarter inch of asphalt may solve the problem but it would cost an additional $63,000. Exley said there is still money available in the state grants for the additional asphalt. Another option is to grind off the existing asphalt to completely remove the sealant

Commissioners expressed displeasure with Michael Baker Corp. for not recognizing the potential problem.

Exley said the grinding of the existing asphalt runway would put the cost of the project over the amount of grant funds.

The runway at the airport has been closed for a couple weeks while the paving work was being readied. Exley said the paving was set for today and Saturday and the runway would be striped on Monday, with it reopening early next week.

County Engineer James Branagan told the commissioners they may be taking a risk of just applying an additional layer of asphalt because it may “slip” under the weight of planes landing on the runway.

Commissioners stopped work on the runway and may meet in emergency session with Michael Baker Corp. to discuss the options for proceeding.

Commissioners also:

– Opened bids for CDBG paving in Saline and Wayne townships and Mingo Junction. The engineer’s estimate was $138,342. Shelly & Sands of Rayland was the apparent low bidder, with a bid of $142,401.

– Opened bids for the county engineer’s department for the paving of about 4 miles of JFK Highway (county Road 47). The estimate was $506,100 and Shelly & Sands submitted the apparent low bid of $469,620.

– Proclaimed June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day on behalf of the county Job and Family Services Department. Betty Ferron, department director, said a program at 12:30 p.m. on June 13 at the Prime Time office on Lovers Lane will feature speakers on elder abuse and scams.

– Agreed to submit a letter of support at the request of Yorkville for a hyropower project proposed at the Pike Island Locks and Dam.

– Were informed of an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 12 at the Towers building, 500 Market St., for township, village and city officials in dealing with abandoned nuisance properties.

– Approved entering into a contract with IGS Energy for electric rates for the Towers building, which is expected to save the county about $49,000 over 36 months. The agreement was negotiated by Mark Morelli of Options Utility Consultants of Wintersville.