St. C. hires deputy electric director

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — City council on Wednesday created a new deputy superintendent position for the St. Clairsville Electric Department and hired Anthony Kotson to fill the post starting Monday.

Kotson will have a salary of $47,000, to be increased to $50,000 after he completes a one-year probationary period. He will be entitled to benefits.

Service and Safety Director James Zucal said Kotson is a Moundsville resident who recently moved there after being based in Nebraska during his military service.

“He was in the military, serving in the Air Force,” he said. “He moved back to the area. He brings a lot to the table and has a great electrical and electronics background. We think he is the best choice to fill that position.”

Zucal said Don Smithberger, current director of the electric department, has no plans to retire, but Kotson would be eligible to take on the role when he steps down.

He also pointed out the increasing activity in the area.

“The work is increasing. We have more area to service, more property to take care of and more developments, so we do have a lot on our plate and this person is needed greatly,” Zucal said.

Kotson will be present during the next council meeting to meet with city leaders and answer questions.

The city is continuing to move on infrastructure projects. Zucal reported a preliminary list of streets to be paved has been completed, with a budget of $150,000 for the project. He said the majority of the funding would come from motor vehicle license plate taxes.

“We’ve been very, very busy lately,” Zucal said, adding the paving should begin in September.

Council held the third reading of an ordinance permitting Zucal to solicit bids for the paving of Talbot Avenue, Debbie Lane, Jepson Avenue from North Marietta to Debbie Lane, Neff Street, Clark Avenue, South Sugar Street and North Marietta Street.

Law Director Richard Myser also reported Belmont County Common Pleas Court had ruled in the city’s favor and granted a preliminary injunction in a case involving South Central Power. The power company will be prevented from any further work toward providing utility service to a property at the Mall Road Crossing until the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio rules on the proper mapping of the 30 acres along Mall Crossing Road. The next status hearing was scheduled for November.

In other matters, Mayor Terry Pugh reminded council that the county no longer provides for indigent burials. He added the city has recently had its first need to provide an indigent burial.

Pugh said the mayor’s association is working to establish a single price for indigent burials throughout Belmont County’s municipalities and will take bids from funeral homes. In the meantime, Toothman Funeral Home will cremate the deceased and provide burial in the county cemetery for $800.

Also, Planning and Zoning Director Tom Murphy reported that the company Fiber Tech is requesting a telecommunication and utility permit to run a high-speed fiber network through the city along U.S. 40 and Woodrow Avenue. The entire network will be underground and will utilize existing AT&T conduits.

Fiber Tech will need to bore under a city right-of-way in two places — along Woodrow and East Lawn avenues — to bridge existing gaps. Representatives of the company will attend the next meeting and answer questions.

Council held the second reading of an ordinance extending the time limit to file the final plat for the St. Clairsville Commons subdivision until March 17.

Council also held the second reading of an ordinance negating a prior ordinance that requires cash deposits from tenants before utilities can be turned on. The current fund of deposits is almost $160,000, and the city will attempt to refund those deposits.

Any funds that cannot be returned will be placed in an unclaimed fund for five years, then revert to the general fund.

Councilwoman Linda Jordan reported the recent community day was a success, and thanked all volunteers and board members, as well as city employees.

According to law enforcement, the Independence Day holiday was a pleasant and safe one in St. Clairsville.

“It was a very uneventful Fourth of July, which we were happy with,” Police Chief Jeff Henry said.