STEUBENVILLE — Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday agreed to use $1,167,000 in ARPA funds for four water and wastewater projects, subject to their advisor’s approval.
The commissioners had allocated approximately $1 million for water and sanitation projects and asked Jefferson County Water and Sanitation District Director Mike Eroshevich to identify which of the projects should go to the top of his to-do list.
“We were told $1 million, we went a little bit beyond that” said Eroshevich afterwards. “These are necessary projects to update the existing infrastructure.”
On his list:
∫ Water: Santucci booster station replacement, $900,000; the Toronto Transmission Line Booster Station, $118,000.
∫ Sewer: Murphy Lift Station rehabilitation, $62,000; and Barbers Hollow return activated sludge pump replacement, $87,000.
Commissioner Tony Morelli welcomed his decisions, saying: “These are all good projects that should have been done sooner.”
“Without ARPA funds, we most likely wouldn’t be doing them now.” said Morelli. “Commissioners have to work hard every year to pass a budget.”
Commissioner Tom Graham said he would like to see more infrastructure upgrades funded with ARPA dollars.
“That’s what I campaigned for, how the ARPA money should be used, water and sanitation projects.” said Graham. “We should use more of these funds for water and sanitation projects.”
Commissioner Dave Maple agreed, adding that he felt Eroshevich had done a good job of prioritizing projects “to capture both water and sanitation issues and use the money we’ve set aside for hm so far.”
“(And) I like that these are infrastructure projects and good use of ARPA.” he added.
Eroshevich said the Santucci pumping station “needs urgent repair or replacement.”
“It supplies water to Smithfield, Piney Fork and Dillonvale Ridge.” he said. “The drive units are 30 years old and need to be replaced. They control the pumps that deliver 2 million gallons a day to the northern part of the county.”
He said the pumps at Barbers Hollow needed replacing. “RAS is an important part of the cleaning process for the sewage treatment plant”, he added.
Likewise, he said the Murphy lift station “Needs a complete overhaul.”
“All (projects) are very important and fit into the budget”, added Eroshevich. “Honestly, I could spend every penny of ARPA money and have a lot more to do.”
Meanwhile, Eroshevich also asked the commissioners to extend the deadline for connecting new sewer customers in the Amsterdam area by 90 days. Eroshevich cited supply chain delays, Covid and contractor availability as contributing factors.
Commssioners were also kept informed of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County’s efforts to change their state classification “municipal free” to “District” library status.
Library Director Mike Gray told commissioners the change would not affect operations.
“The funding would be the same, the services for the county would be the same.” he said, adding that they would be asked to appoint four board members, with the other three being chosen by the presiding judge of the Common Pleas Court. Currently, board members are appointed by the mayor of Steubenville.
Gray said if the reclassification is approved, the current board members would serve out their terms and notify the commissioners that they would “To better reflect the public library’s commitment to library service to all residents of Jefferson County.”
On other matters, commissioners:
* Moved $20,000 to District Controller’s budget for commissioned services.
Contract Services is the fund that pays for autopsy fees, toxicology studies and related costs and all monies currently allocated to the Contract Services fund have been exhausted.
Coroner Michael Scarpone told commissioners the expenses were “necessary because of the unfortunately high number of individuals requiring post-mortem and toxicology studies.
* Granted the prosecutor a 30-day extension to complete their annual report.
* Schedule a visit and hearing to evaluate a petition to clear the right of way along County Road 7G (Pottery Addition).
*Awarded the contract for 56-9, 77 and 11.87 Jefferson County Roads to the lower bidder, Ohio-West Virginia Excavating for $492,134. The engineer’s estimate was $538,470.
* Agreed to advertise bids for skid repairs at County Roads 1-3.4 and 2-2.1. The project consists of two bored shaft retaining walls with prefabricated concrete formwork. The engineer estimate is $197,861.
* Signed the $402,150 Contract Notice for the Barber Hollow Wastewater Treatment Plant UV Disinfection Project
* Accepted payments from Toronto and Jefferson County Airpark of $29,085 for chip/seal roads in their jurisdiction.