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Commissioners reach out to businesses

ST. CLAIRSVILLE The Belmont County Commissioners reported on a successful visit to a retailer expo at Las Vegas where they reached out and built connections with businesses.

“It went very well,” said Commissioner Mark Thomas, noting the commissioners took the opportunity to have extensive discussions with companies looking into ongoing major projects. “We were able to have specific one-on-one meetings with officials from the Cafaro Company, the owners of Ohio Valley Mall and with officials out of the Equity Company based out of Columbus, Ohio, regarding the new St. Clair Commons project that’s going to be behind Lowes and Wal Mart. … We were able to solidify and strengthen existing relationships with those two developers.”

The commissioners also spoke with representatives from more than three dozen businesses about all the county has to offer, both now and in the future. They presented information on education, transportation, development and industry.

“The good news for Belmont County is that a lot of these entities that we talked about, some of them knew where we are. Some of them knew of the existing retail.”

The board will follow up by sending letters and added information to every company they met with, inviting them to come to the county.

“The oil and gas activity has created a sense of hope in the area,” said Commissioner Ginny Favede, also noting the possibility of a cracker plant in Shadyside which could result in greater development. She noted an increase in traffic count and population. “Things look very, very promising for our county.”

She also noted the incoming presence of high-profile businesses in the area.

“We are one of the few government entities that goes to Vegas and works the room like we do,” said Commissioner Matt Coffland. “We have something to offer that no other place in the country has to offer. That’s where our county’s going. We are the hottest county in the country.”

He added that the commissioners promote areas across the county at the convention.

In other matters, John Henthorne of Barton addressed the board about the possibility of a proposal to increase license fees to provide funds for the deteriorating roads.

Favede noted that there had been a prior vote against such a measure two years prior. There is no guarantee that the funds raised would specifically be used for roads, and the residents were overwhelmingly opposed to such a measure. She added that they are discussing the possibility of a road levy.

Thomas added that the board is putting together a formal plan to supplement road funding. They will present a formal plan to the county engineer.

The clerk of the board was authorized to establish a date and time for a subdivision hearing regarding the plat of Bugala Addition, Flushing Township, and the plat of Presutti Estates, Pultney Township and Pease Township.

The commissioners will enter into a roadway use maintenance agreement for pipeline and compressor projects and infrastructure with Ohio River System LLC, formerly Regency Utica Gas Gathering, LLC, effective May 20 for the use of 0.352 miles of County Road 10, or Barton Blaine Road, including the county bridge, for ingress and egress for pipeline activity at the Ohio River Valley Pipeline. The county-wide bond for $2 million is on file.

The board also entered into an agreement with them for the use of 2.897 miles of County Road 4, or Glenns Run Road, including three county bridges, for ingress and egress for pipeline activity. The county-wide bond of $2 million is on file.

The commissioners approved the hiring of Garrett Hart as a summer student employee for the Belmont County Sanitary Sewer District at the rate of $8.10 per hour beginning May 26, to be paid by the district.

The commissioners approved and authorized signing a subordination of mortgage request for $73,000 regarding property owned by Robert K. Grimmett, Sr. and Beverly J. Grimmett. These are former CHIP grant recipients that are refinancing.

The board approved and signed a satisfaction of mortgage by separate instrument for Tiffanie M. Patton for two mortgage deeds.

Thomas was authorized to sign a juvenile court grant agreement and funding application between the Ohio Department of Youth Services Belmont County Juvenile Court for fiscal year 2016 in the amount of $160,378.17.

The board also approved the execution of a pay request from Border Patrol LLC for $160,156.67 for the fairgrounds sewerage project.

Commissioners also approved the payment of an invoice from Vaughn Coast Vaughn, Inc. for $15,741.13 for professional services and other expenses in the sewerage project.

Commissioners approved the purchase of one 2015 Chevrolet Equinox 2 LT AWD from Whiteside Chevrolet at a cost of $26,504.50 as a replacement unit in the board’s fleet. Commissioners will also purchase a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4WD from Whiteside Chevrolet at a cost of $41,757.55 as an addition to the fleet.

Timothy Houston, dean of Student Affairs & Strategic Enrollment Management for Belmont College, was named to the Area 16 Workforce Investment Board (WIB) effective immediately through June 30, based on the recommendation of Vince Gianangeli, DJFS director. Houston will replace Rob Guentter as the college’s representative.

The commissioners approved hiring Christopher Jingle as a Class 1 water plane operator for the sanitary sewer district at a rate of $15.45 per hour beginning May 26.

The commissioners also approved hiring Blaugrund, Kessler, Myers & Postalakis, attorneys and counselors at law, to represent the county on legal matters on an as-needed basis at the rate of $200 per hour, billed monthly.

Thomas was authorized to sign a release of easement on behalf of the sanitary sewer district in reference to an easement for the installation and connection of a waterline granted in the easement recorded in deed records for .009 acre of waterline easement to be vacated at the property belonging to the Ohio Valley Mall Company. Thomas was also authorized to sign a release of easement for the installation and connection of a waterline granted for .074 acres of property belonging to CPX STC ES, LLC.

Commissioners approved a change order from Erb Electric Company for $3,900 for additional work on the fire alarm circuits as part of the courthouse elevator modernization project.

The board also accepted the resignation of Ashley Ferda as assistant dog warden effective April 14 and appointed Joe Coe assistant dog warden at $10 per hour beginning May 17.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com.

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