ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Belmont County Commissioners reviewed funding issues and opportunities during Wednesday's meeting.
Commissioner Ginny Favede noted that a training session for the District 18 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Program will be held Aug. 22 at the Holiday Inn, Marietta, 10 a.m. to noon. The topics covered will include preparation of application, new requirements and policy updates. The training is offered for everyone interested in applying for the fund program, including local government entities, park and joint recreational districts, conservancy districts, soil and water conservancy districts and non-profit organizations.
It is part of the Clean Ohio Fund, instituted to preserve natural areas and farmland, protect outdoor streams, create outdoor recreational activities, and revitalize urban areas by cleaning up Brownfield sites.
Matching grants of 80/20 will be awarded to conservation projects such as the purchase of open spaces and the costs of making them accessible to the public, and for the protection of stream corridors, protecting wildlife habitat and reducing erosion.
RSVP by Aug. 15 to Jenny Myers at Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District at (740) 376-1026. For more information, call the fund program at (740) 376-1025.
"This is an opportunity for all of our townships, and villages and cities to apply for Clean Ohio funds," said Favede, adding that St. Clairsville and Barnesville both have a history of accessing the funds.
Commissioner Matt Coffland said an ongoing problem was the inability of many local communities to raise matching funds for grant opportunities. Questions about innovative ways to raise matching money may be answered at the Aug. 22 meeting.
Favede added that so far, budget cuts to Belmont County including local government funds total $6,863,233. Cuts to education are $2,793,656, local government cuts are $1,614.090, estate tax elimination has been $1.1 million, and TPP and SB3 phase out is $1.3 million.
"We have really taken a hit in this county," said Favede, noting that the county's population is about 70,000.
In other business, Mickey Wallace, Belmont County Flood Plain coordinator, outlined changes to the proposed amendment to the Special Purpose Flood Damage Reduction Resolution of Belmont County during the second of the required two public hearings. He noted that the change in wording of the penalty clause removed mention of jail time, but jail time could be ordered by a judge under different circumstances.
Also, John Rowan, executive director of Oakview Juvenile Residential Center, thanked commissioners for their support and cooperation while the center was awaiting state funds for the 2013 fiscal year.
Commissioner Charles R. Probst Jr. was authorized to execute the bond release for Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. of America at the request of Marietta Coal Co. in the amount of $150,000. The original bond was issued Dec. 15, 1997 for Marietta Coal Co. to allow them to hand legal loads of strip coal on 3.17 miles of County Highway 4, Willow Grove Road.
Favede was authorized to execute pay application for Chambers, Murphy & Burge, Ltd for a total of $4,887.63 for construction engineering services on the Historic Sheriff's Residence Adaptive Reuse. The federal/state match will come to $3,910.11, the local match is $977.52, for a total of $4,887.63.
Commissioners also motioned to award the bid for the OUE Brick Tavern house roof and drainage system rehabilitation project to Centennial Preservation Group, LLC, in the amount of $127,790 based on the recommendation of Heritage Architectural Associates, Project Architects. Centennial was the only bidder for the project. Probst noted they were fortunate that the grant was maintained through a comparatively long wait, due to some issues regarding the architect's estimate.
Commissioners entered into a lease agreement with Gulfport Energy Corp. for a three-year term beginning July 23, 2012-July 22, 2015 for 0.57 acres located in Kirkwood Township. Signing bonus was $5,000 per net leasehold acre. Royalty is 20 percent.
Commissioners motioned to adopt the resolution to forgive the repayment of $5,000 allocated to the Belmont County Transportation Improvement District, approved April 7, 2010.
Commissioners motioned to approve and sign the amendment to the contract with Student Services dated July 18, 2012 on behalf of the Department of Job and Family Services to reduce the amount from $19,281 to $18,487, a decrease of $794, due to a reduction in the amount of the Ohio Children's Trust Fund grant for the Child Abuse Prevention Program. The contract is effective July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013.
Also, an open house at the new clerk of courts office will be held Friday, 1-3 p.m.
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