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Amsterdam residents will be billed


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Linda Harris
DISCUSSION — Jefferson County commissioners Eric Timmons, left, and Dave Maple listen as Barry Bardone, adjutant of the Jefferson County Veterans Association, offers details about plans to install turf at the Memorial Wall.

STEUBENVILLE — Come April, Amsterdam residents will be billed for sewer service whether they’re tied into the new, $14 million system or not.

Water and Sewer Service Director Mike Eroshevich said the charges will appear on residents’ May statement.

“We received about 60 percent in grants, which means we took out loans for about $6 million,” he said during Thursday’s meeting of the Jefferson County commissioners. “This is the second year we’ve been paying on the loan, and as of now we’re receiving only about half of the revenue we expected because only about half the customers are connected.”

Ohio law requires any property within a couple hundred feet of a sanitary sewer system to connect to it, he said. Residents are supposed to connect within 90 days of completion, but the county commissioners granted several extensions–the last of which expires April 1–largely because of a contractor shortage and skyrocketing costs during the pandemic.

“We started working on this project back in 2016, 2017 at the invitation of the village, the village approached us about doing this,” Eroshevich said, pointing out that somewhere around 150 and 200 customers still haven’t tied in.

“We went through the process of finding more contractors, giving extensions to give people more time,” he said.

The minimum sewer bill is $46.09 a month, with an additional $7.50 charged for every 1,000 gallons beyond that.

“We don’t have the authority to force anybody to connect, that lies with the Jefferson County Health Department,” Eroshevich said. “So for anybody not connected by April 1, we’re required to turn over their name and address to the board of health and then they take it from there.”

Commissioners also signed off on a Department of Job Family Services agreement with McKinley Architecture and Engineering for the Childrens Home roof project despite concerns with the “substantial completion date” being listed as Dec. 31.

Commissioners plan to pay for the work with ARPA funds, but that means the funds have to be spent by the end of the year.

Commissioner Dave Maple said he feels like the Dec. 31 completion date is “cutting it kind of close.”

“Things come up, delays happen,” he said after the meeting. “We need to make sure that everybody’s keeping a close eye (on it) and pushing to get it done.”

He also suggested having a backup plan in place should they miss the Dec. 31 deadline.

Commissioners also were told the end date of the Jefferson Community Action Council’s Opioid 4 Fresh Start program contract has been extended to March 31, 2025. It had been slated to expire this year.

Rich Gualtiere, CAC deputy director, said the program has served 230 individuals to date “and hopes to serve 90 more with the one-year, no-cost extension we received for this grant.”

Also Thursday, commissioners:

• Agreed to help the Jefferson County Veterans Association pay for turf installation at Memorial Wall at Friendship Park.

“They’ve done so much for us, our veterans, that’s the least we can do,” Commissioner Eric Timmons said.

JCVA Adjutant Barry Bardone said they have $2,000 set aside for the work, which, depending on the grade selected, could run anywhere from $6,700 to $7,665. Commissioners opted for the higher quality turf, which should last at least 20 years. That puts the county’s share at $5,665, money that they plan to pull out of their oil and gas revenues.

“Once that turf surface is put in, we’re done with the wall, there’s nothing else we have to do with (it),” Bardone said pointing out the price includes a veteran discount and that the work will be done by Memorial Day.

• Renewed a JFS contract with Accreditation Guru, their Childrens Home consultant. The company was originally hired to ensure the county passed its three-year Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities accreditation, and now will assist in helping JFS “correct any areas of concern for our next visit” in three years.

• Gave A Caring Place Child Advocacy Center the go-ahead to plant pinwheels at the courthouse April 8 in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention month.

• Authorized the purchase of two new Ford F-150 4X4 Super Crew pickups — one each for the water and sewer departments.

• Approved the addition of David D. Barcus of Richmond as airport seasonal worker. Airport officials told commissioners they received about 30 applications for the position, a full-time post paying $15 an hour. A 5 percent pay raise for the airpark manager, Brian Thaxton, also was approved. His new hourly rate is $35.70.

• Subject to a positive review by the assistant prosecutor, agreed to hire Integrity Elevator to service the elevators at the Justice Center. The three-year, $1,000-per-month agreement will cover all four elevators in the building.

Maintenance Supervisor Patrick Boyles said the switch “is going to save us more than $12,000 a year.”

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