County discusses financing of Towers building

STEUBENVILLE -The Jefferson County commissioners Thursday discussed financing of the Towers building, forcing sewer connections in Pottery Addition and $663,000 in road and bridge grants obtained by the county engineer’s department.

Commissioners authorized the county auditor’s office to seek interest quotes on financing $1 million for the purchase of the Towers and for installing a new roof on the county Job and Family Services building.

Commissioners agreed last month to purchase the Towers building at 500 Market St. for $750,000, plus $100,000 for four adjacent parking lots. The new roof on the county Job and Family Services building cost is estimated at $198,000.

The commissioners said they will use other funds for the demolition of the Courthouse Annex to make public parking available for people who visit the courthouse.

Commissioners want to move other county offices into the Towers. The county already is paying rent at the building for county offices.

Commissioners will be working through the county prosecutor’s office and the county health department to force 22 property owners in Pottery Addition to connect to the new sewer lines in the community.

State law mandates property owners have to connect buildings or houses to a sewer line when it becomes available. The county has completed the sewer work.

Most of the 22 buildings not connected are abandoned, but there are at least two homes that haven’t connected. The county’s regional planning commission has money available to assist low-income property owners with the connection fee.

The commissioners said the county will be facing similar problems in the near future when the Crestview-Belvedere sewer project is completed. Shannan Gosbin, county water and sewer department director, said the residents in that area can start connecting to the sewer system in May.

Commissioners were informed about three Ohio Public Works Commission grants on behalf of the county engineer’s department.

The county received the following grants: $361,082 grant for a bridge replacement on county Road 51, slip repair on county Road 26 and paving on various township roads; $188,000 for slip repair and resurfacing on county Road 15; and $114,083 for bridge work and paving county Road 9.

Commissioners also received an update on electrical work upgrades at the courthouse being prepared by the architectural and engineering firm of McKinley & Associates of Wheeling.

The report stated the main electrical service and other electrical boxes throughout the building and the fire alarm system need to be replaced. Additional electrical circuits also may be needed. The architectural firm will prepare a design and cost estimates.

Commissioners also:

Approved the donation of 10 laptop computers from the county Job and Family Services Department to the Family Service Association.

Were informed of a $3,000 grant to the county law library from the Statewide Consortium of Ohio County Law Library Resources Board for the purchase of subscriptions to two electronic databases for legal forms and legal references.

Received a request from the county coroner’s office for an additional $11,905 in payroll funding for an employee who plans to retire and then come back to work full time. Commissioners tabled the request until they meet with county Coroner Dr. Michael Scarpone.

Proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Announced the meeting next week will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.