Commissioners Mull Road Paving Funding

Pease Township Trustee Michael Bianconi suggested to Belmont County commissioners this week that money from sales tax should be used to initiate road paving projects.

Other attendees at the meeting concurred there was a need to explore available options in maintaining roads and infrastructure.

Commissioner Matt Coffland agreed 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 Probst 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 said the auditor was appropriating additional money 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 national 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 … significant, and I do mean significant, amount of money.”

Favede said 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 said an engineer’s study and approval is also necessary for the paving of any road.

Coffland noted 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 also:

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

– Approved 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.

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

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

Commissioners enterd a closed-door session with Dwayne Pielech, director of Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services, to consider compensation and employment of public employees.