BELLAIRE - Mayor Vincent DiFabrizio accepted an award for the village during Thursday night's council meeting which was presented by Larry Siebieda.
The award was issued by the State of Ohio and certifies Bellaire to be a historical district.
"Some time ago - about seven or eight months ago," Siebieda said, " the village entered into an ordinance to show Bellaire to be a historical district." He explained that a commission was established, of which he is presently the chair. The commission has held several meetings and is in the process of identifying specific historical sections of the village. The State of Ohio, however, has already moved forward and certified Bellaire as a historical region of the state from the documentation already provided.
T-L Photo / JESSE SCOTT
PICTURED IS Larry Siebieda (left) presenting an award of certification to Bellaire Mayor Vicent DiFabrizio. The award, which was issued by the State of Ohio, certifies the village as a historical district.
DiFabrizio extended his thanks to Siebieda for presenting the award, which he was honored to accept.
Although no pieces of legislation were passed on Thursday, council discussed several future plans for the village - the most important of which was the ongoing feasibility study which council agreed to enter into during the last meeting on May 29.
The feasibility study, which is being conducted by RCAP (the Rural Community Assistance Program), is intended to survey local municipalities' ability to work with one another in order to provide "the most effective services at the lowest possible cost" to all the residents of neighboring towns in regards to wastewater disposal.
The study is setting some big goals for Bellaire, according to Village Administrator Dan Marling.
"The EPA, through orders that the mayor has signed last June," Marling stated, "has set up a plan where the villages and municipalities (Brookside, Bridgeport, Martins Ferry and Bellaire) have to begin the process of removing the storm water from the wastewater combined-sewer system, due to the fact that it creates overflows for the wastewater treatment plant in the north end of town."
Marling explained that there is a 36-month plan to meet the mandates of the EPA. The mandate is unfunded, meaning that the village must cover all of the costs of the project.
"They want the villages and municipalities to go in, identify all their sewers, clean all their sewers, repair all their sewers and then begin the process of separation of the storm water from the wastewater," Marling said.
However, Marling is less than confident that the village is capable of completing the project in the 36-month timeframe. He explained that there is no extra funding for a project of this magnitude and that even if the village was stable enough financially, there are no extra servicemen to complete the jobs. However, because the changes are being mandated by the EPA, it is a project which the village has no choice but to pursue.
"We're just going to have to wade through this a little bit at a time to see how we can do it - one day at a time to be honest," Marling said. "Unfortunately, the sewer infrastructure in this town is even worse than the water. Whether the EPA will give us a waiver to get past this 36 months or whether their expectation is for us to continue to move forward while that problem is being discussed, I can't answer that tonight. But we are going to make the attempt to begin the process."
The village may have to consider raising the sewer rates, which are currently $2, in order to provide some funding to the project. The long-term projections for the plan are very positive, according to Marling, but in the short-term, it is going to be a difficult endeavor.
Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.