Belmont County addresses road paving

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Belmont County Commissioners held their regular meeting Wednesday.

Guests included suggestions by Pease Township Trustee Michael Bianconi to utilize money from sales tax to initiate road paving projects. Other guests concurred that there was a need to explore available options in maintaining roads and infrastructure.

Commissioner Matt Coffland agreed that the county’s roads were in poor condition, but said the board must receive more information concerning the county’s financial status going into next year.

Commissioner Charles R. Probst, Jr. said the commissioners were focusing on ending the year in the black. Budget hearings would begin in two weeks to determine next year’s forecast. He said at that point they would be more aware of what finances were available.

“We continue to get requests from different departments almost weekly for an increase in funds to finish the year,” Probst said. “We are trying to prepare as best we can per the monies that are certified to this commission from the auditor’s office.”

Commissioner Ginny Favede added that the auditor was appropriating additional monies from sources such as sales tax to pay the bond debt and get the county through this year in the black. In addition, the institution of the president’s health care plan would mean further expenses. The cost has not been determined and the county’s insurance broker would meet with the board soon.

“We need to be prepared for additional costs,” she said. “Health insurance for Belmont County employees is a significant, and I do mean significant, amount of money.”

Favede added that although the commissioners allocate funds to the county engineer, the engineer prioritizes projects. Work on projects such as bridges has been given higher priority. Coffland added that an engineer’s study and approval is also necessary for the paving of any road.

Coffland noted that the commissioners could assist in writing an Issue 2 application for the purpose of road paving. Probst added that a paving fund could be established next year.

In other matters,

– Commissioners motioned to approve the allocation of $18,750 to the Belmont County Department of Development/Community Improvement Corp. for program operations for the fourth quarter of 2012.

– Commissioners motioned to approve a request from the Belmont County Tourism Council to forward an additional $10,000 from the lodging tax receipts for November to cover delinquent bills for the Carnes Center. This is in addition to their monthly $20,000 allotment for operating expenses.

– Probst was authorized to execute a copier service contract with MOS Office Systems for a copier for Senior Services of Belmont County.

– Jack Head of Mt. Perry was reappointed county apiary inspector for 2013 at a flat fee of $1,000 yearly.

Commissioners motioned to enter into an executive session with Dwayne Pielech, director of Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, to consider compensation and employment of public employees.

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