Belmont County leaders discuss future paving projects

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Commissioners approved several paving projects to be done this summer.

Belmont County Engineer Terry Lively said Wednesday that one major project was made possible by a $2 million grant through the Federal Highway Administration. Commissioner Jerry Echemann said the cost of the total project is $3,294,473. The remaining $1,294,473 for the project will be funded through the county engineer’s office.

Lively said the project will resurface about 17 miles of county roads, and the project will start in late summer of this year.

Lively said resurfacing will take place on County Road 72/Mount Hope Road, several portions of County Road 56, several portions of County Road 10, County Road 30/Dixon Hill Road and County Road 24/Boydsville Road.

Lively applied for the grant in 2020, and $2 million was the maximum amount of money the county could receive.

“This type of grant isn’t something that just every single year you can access this grant. … It takes time for a grant like this to kind of work its way through and make itself available,” Commissioner J.P. Dutton said.

Lively said the grant is a big help, and he hopes to apply for the same funding again in the future.

“This funding is available periodically, and of course the next time we’re eligible for it I’ll apply for it again. I would like to be doing this much paving every year. We really need to be doing this much paving every year, but we just don’t have the funds to do that,” he said.

Dutton noted it can take “a long time” to receive outside funding. Lively agreed.

“It’s not just funding. It’s also manpower. Myself and my assistant Dan Boltz are really the only two people that we have available to work on capital projects like this. It’s tough, advancing all these projects and keeping them rolling with just two people working on it,” he said.

Lively said the engineer’s office has more paving and repairs planned.

“This is by no means the only project we’re working on. We’ve got a major bridge replacement kicking off in the first part of March. That’s Blaine-Barton County Road 10. That’s a $1.6 to $1.7 million project right there. We’ve got another major bridge project coming next year on County Road 4/Glenns Run,” he added.

Frank Shaffer, Pultney Township trustee and Bellaire village administrator, said he hopes the public understands the work that goes into grant applications.

“People think that roads need to be paved the next day, but we don’t have it. That money is not there, and there is a lot of manpower and a lot of work put into getting these grants. It’s finally coming to fruition. … The commissioners and the engineer’s department have done a tremendous job in this county as far as roads. They’ve come a long way, and they’re using outside dollars and not just our own taxpayer dollars right here in this county,” he said.

All commissioners voted in favor of moving forward with the project and allotting $1,294,473 for paving.

In other news, Echemann discussed purchasing a used van for the Belmont County Records Department. He said that the department currently owns a 2004 Ford E-50 van that he would like to trade in for $500 toward the purchase of a used 2021 Chevy Express 2500 cargo van from Robinson’s Auto for $38,499. The total cost after selling the old van would be $37,999.

“They haul records back and forth, I don’t think on a daily basis. It’s not an all-the-time kind of thing. There was some thought given to getting the records department a new van, but we decided due to the fact that the van is not necessarily used a whole lot, then it’d be better to get a used one. We’re always thinking about trying to save the county a little bit of money,” Echemann noted.

Commissioner Josh Meyers explained that the 2021 Chevy has about 27,000 miles on it. Dutton said the van is in good shape, and he believes it will last for at least 10 years.

“We kind of evaluate how much mileage we use and how much mileage was on this vehicle. … We did spend some time trying to make sure that we were making the best decision here,” he said.

Dutton said that commissioners looked to purchase the van within the county, but prices were about $10,000 more.

All commissioners voted in favor of trading in the old van and purchasing the 2021 Chevy.

Echemann also made a motion to have Carney & Sloan Inc. in Wheeling replace the motor and impeller on the dishwasher at the Belmont County Jail. He said that the board of commissioners received a quote from Carney & Sloan Inc. in the amount of $4,053.03.

“As you might imagine they have a pretty heavy-duty dishwasher out there at the jail. It’s not like one you have at home. There was some thought in replacing it, but a new motor will do the trick,” Echemann said.

All commissioners voted in favor of purchasing a new motor and impeller for the dishwasher.


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