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DJFS receives 3 percent wage increase

CADIZ — Employees of the Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services are receiving a 3 percent wage increase.

DJFS Assistant Director Deb Knight met with Commissioners Dale Norris, Paul Coffland and Don Bethel to discuss the matter at Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Knight said that both unionized employees and non-union employees will receive a 3 percent wage increase, effective last October. The employees will receive retroactive pay for the period that has passed since the hike took effect.

In addition, DJFS Director Scott Blackburn will receive a 2 percent wage increase. Knight will receive a 3 percent raise.

Norris made the motion to accept the resolution approving the raises. Bethel seconded the motion, which carried. Coffland abstained from the vote because his wife is the fiscal officer for the DJFS.

Knight said there are 25 employees in the department, all of whom will receive the pay increase.

“The fiscal officer is calculating the retroactive pay now. Our contract (with union workers) expired the 30th of September,” she said.

The department has been working toward the raise since the expiration of the union contract, she said.

The DJFS recently was awarded $170,000 for the Ohio START program — Sobriety, Treatment and Reducing Trauma. The funds will aid families with substance abuse issues.

Additionally, commissioners signed a resolution authorizing the county to apply for, accept and enter into an agreement for the design of a wastewater collection and treatment system for the village of Freeport. The agreement is between Harrison County and the Ohio Water Development Authority.

Norris read the agreement, which states the county is proposing to design a new sanitary sewer collection and treatment system in Freeport.

“The county desires to obtain a loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority to finance costs of the design of such facilities on the terms set forth in the Cooperative Agreement,” he read.

The agreement was declared an emergency measure for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety of the village, he said. Currently the village is operating without a wastewater collection and treatment system. Residents only have septic systems. The goal of the village is to eliminate the septic systems and implement a new wastewater system.

Norris made a motion to approve the resolution. Coffland seconded the motion, which unanimously passed.

After the meeting, Coffland said the county is attempting to move as fast as possible in order to meet Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requirements and funding.

“There’s a number of different options. We have to identify the cheapest and best option,” he said.

Coffland said the county will try to secure grants or low interest loans to keep the project as cost-efficient as possible. The project cost is not yet known, but it will take between two and three years to complete, he said. Commissioners will hold a meeting at 11 a.m. Monday at the courthouse. Coffland said the project will go out to bid to engineering firms then.

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