Jefferson County Commissioners Review Improvements | News, Sports, Jobs

BRIEFING – Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. RJ Bodo, right, briefs Jefferson County commissioners Thursday on a drunk and impaired driving initiative that will begin June 9. –Linda Harris

STEUBENVILLE — Given the growing importance of the Towers building in the business community, Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday planned to make the exterior look as good as the interior.

“We want to provide our employees, tenants and the public with a clean and safe environment to work and carry on their activities”, Commissioner Tony Morelli said after the meeting. “Appearance is important and when completed, this will be one of the finest buildings, inside and out, at our county seat, Steubenville.”

Morelli said several tenants have requested a security presence in the towers, either a deputy sheriff or private security. He said there was “a few talks” on the subject years ago, “but the sheriff thinks it’s certainly worth going back.”

Commissioner Tom Graham said it was worth considering all the options, although he pointed out that they had considered it before and even then, “It was very expensive.”

“A private company wanted $18 an hour, per person, and it would take at least two,” he called back. “It would be expensive to have deputies there as well. We have assistants in the next building at Job and Family Services – one proposal is to have a camera in the Towers building with a screen at Job and Family Services that the assistants can monitor. The response time would be 30 seconds.

Graham said commissioners should look at all options “and decide which route to take.”

Maintenance supervisor Patrick Boyles told the stewards that the lowest quote he had found for the east parking lot excavation was $40,000, but with rising prices the price rose to around $50,000.

Boyles said he would see if he could “press them” to get the price under the reference of $50,000 for advertising projects.

“You are still accountable to taxpayers and get estimates everywhere, but not the cost of going through all the auctions,” Commissioner Dave Maple said, pointing to the $50,000 bidding threshold “has been in place for how many years… It’s probably time to adjust it. It’s hard to do a project of any kind for less than $50,000.

Boyles said the excavation contract would include the removal “five feet of old (debris) and bringing in new fill.”

Morelli said it’s important to dispose of the residue “and whatever we find buried, then put a good backfill on it before putting new bitumen on it.”

“A lot of things are buried under the lot that would turn the tarmac in a short time”, he said.

Although they may avoid bidding on the east lot excavation project, Boyles told them they won’t be so lucky when it comes time to pave: The lowest quote he got was about $85,000, he said.

The commissioners gave Boyles the go-ahead to announce the paving contract and also agreed to spend $11,200 on basic repairs to the fountain to the left of the main entrance.

“I think we should fix it” Boyle said. “It’s a nice thing to have up front there. it really adds to the building I think.

The quote covers replacing the pumps and filter and getting them running, he said. “That doesn’t include if something is wrong underground, like a broken pipe, or something wrong with the pump itself. That would be extra… I know that’s a little high, but this thing has been around for so long, I know it hasn’t worked since I got here.

“Generally my position is that we don’t have money for things like fountains, but that’s short-sighted because we have people coming to our area,” said Maple. “We have tourism, and this is the county seat, we ended up with lights for buildings, in the front of our buildings, to improve the town and the city here.”

“That looks nice” Boyles agreed. “People are talking about the building, it looks really nice. People want to rent space in it like crazy.

Morelli said these are no ordinary times. “We have funds to do it”, he said. “I think we’re the fountain, we’re fixing the parking lot, I totally agree. Even without Social Security (in the process of moving in), our parking lot was full yesterday at 11 a.m.

Graham said a bank had expressed interest in moving into the towers.

Lt. RJ Bodo of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, meanwhile, told commissioners that troopers would focus on drunk and impaired drivers in the coming weeks.

Bodo said that beginning June 9, there will be an increased OSHP presence on National Highway 7 every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through August.

“We want to make people aware that there will be an increase in state troopers along Highway 7,” he said. “There are all kinds of numbers that show a lot of problems in Jefferson County with drunk and impaired drivers – accidents, arrests we make, Narcan uses with people we meet on the side of the road… We’re just reaching out to people. We’re trying to focus on solving some of these drunk and impaired driving issues.

Bodo said they’ve teamed up with area recovery specialists, so when they make arrests, “we will try to help them.”

The commissioners, meanwhile, approved a 3% wage increase for non-union employees of Jobs and Family Services.

“We’re talking about $35,000, much of which was paid with state money,” said Graham. “It doesn’t come from our general fund at all.”

About 15 employees are covered, JFS administrators said.

In other cases, Commissioners:

— Accepted the resignation of Kathy Teramana, Administrative Assistant for the Water and Sewer District, due to retirement. They will try to fill the position internally before posting it. The last day of Teramana will be August 26.

— Awarded contracts for the resurfacing of County Road 16 at Shelly and Sands, Rayland, for $561,600, and for the Service Complex locker room at Buckeye Field Maintenance, Bloomingdale, for $259,950.

– Agreed to announce the resurfacing project for the City of Steubenville-Sinclair Avenue and Ohio Public Works Commission Townships 2022 Jefferson County Road 77.

– Schedules a visit and hearing to assess a petition to evacuate an unnamed alley in Salem Township.

– Approved the reclassification of Reno Tarquinio from Tax Officer/Supervisor to Administrator, Finance and Contracts, effective June 13, and Matt Kendall from Human Resources Administrator to Deputy Director and Human Resources Administrator, effective June 6.

County Engineer Jim Branagan told commissioners this week that his staff focused on repairing cobblestone on County Road 51 (Hollow Rock Road) and County Road 7F (Toronto-Empire Road), repairs slips and tree trimming on County Road 77 (Permars Run Road) and mowing.

Water and sewer district supervisor Mike Eroshevich said his water crews focused on monitoring the water system, mowing grass and enforcing orders work; repaired a 10-inch main line, Reeds Mill Hill; cleaning up previous leaks; installed a new faucet on State Route 213; collected lead and copper samples and mailed invoices. On the sewer side, workers focused on plant and collection system maintenance, grass cutting, and daily lab testing.

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