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Bridgeport welcomes new council member, hears water concerns

T-L Photo/ ROBERT A. DEFRANK Bridgeport Mayor Norma Teasdale hears water reports Tuesday. The water connection with Martins Ferry is nearly complete, but the contract with Belmont County may not be certain.

BRIDGEPORT — Village Council selected a new member Tuesday after hearing from two candidates.

Following an executive session, Loyal Springer was appointed to the council seat vacated by Travis Snodgrass when he was named the new street/sanitation commissioner.

“I’ve been a citizen in Bridgeport since 1964,” Springer said early in the meeting, adding that he is a veteran who served in the Vietnam conflict. He then worked for American Electric Power. “I retired a few years ago, and I just think I could help the village if they need help. … I’ll use what skills I have to help the village in any way I can.”

The vote was unanimous. Springer could not be reached for further comment after council’s decision.

Tina Nolan also had applied, as did another individual who was unable to attend the Tuesday meeting.

In other matters Chuck Husted, president of the water board, reported Belmont County may intend to terminate the village water contract at the end of the year. Husted said Bridgeport sold $189,000 of water to the county last year.

“That’s going to hurt us tremendously because right now, that plant was built with the intention of selling to Belmont County clear to Blaine. Right now, we have a $1.9 million debt on that plant,” Husted said, adding the water board will further discuss the matter with the county commissioners.

Afterward, Mayor Norma Teasdale said council will await the next report from the water board.

Husted also reported the water connection with Martins Ferry is nearly finished, with a pump set up at a temporary building on Second Street until a permanent building can be erected.

“The waterline is connected. We’re supposed to start gravity-feeding today, but I think we ran into some other issues,” he said. “We’re working on getting the pump in right now.”

Martins Ferry agreed to sell water to the village after it was discovered that a couple of village wells had been contaminated, reducing its capacity to provide potable water.

“We’ve had numerous calls from the (Ohio Environmental Protection Agency) about this project. We’ve been lucky enough so far they estimate this project, with the … building when it’s up at $569,000. The EPA finance assistance granted us $550,000 so far. We’re not sure what all’s going to be involved in the permanent building, but that’s going to have to be engineered out, put out to bid.”

He said Bridgeport and Martins Ferry continue to negotiate about rates.

He added that the village continues to be in need of water meters. He said 100 meters are read monthly, but between 500 and 600 meters need to be put in.

“We’ve got to account for every bit of water,” he said.

Council also heard from Andy Reed of the Aetnaville area, who asked that a no-engine-brake zone be established on a section of Ohio 7 from Aetnaville south to the overpass, about a quarter-mile.

“So many of the trucks going up and down the highway are using their engine braking unnecessarily. It’s flat ground and short distance. There’s no need for that. They’re treating Route 7 like it’s a private race track,” he said.

David and Tilynn Holmes of Alexander Drive have also requested a variation to the village’s animal ordinance to allow the use of undeveloped acres for a small farm. Teasdale said the matter will be considered and an answer given at a later meeting.

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