Water Upgrades in St. Clairsville To Cost $1.5M

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The city took another step in the long-planned water tank upgrade Monday when council motioned to accept bids from DN Tanks and Ferri Contracting Co.

DN Tanks bid $1,038,874 for a prestressed concrete water utility storage tank. Ferry Contracting bid $585,468 for site improvements, a generator and booster station.

Work should begin in March. The 500,000-gallon water tank would replace an existing tank dating from 1929, which holds 200,000 gallons of water.

Council members Mike Smith, Frank Sabatino, Mark Bukmir, Jim Velas, Perry Basile, Linda Jordan and President Tim Porter approved both bids unanimously. Council Member Beth Oprisch was absent.

In related matters, Safety and Service Director Jim Zucal suggested the city might schedule some open-house public tours of the water and wastewater plant after the first of the year, for the purpose of giving the public some familiarity with the issues facing the water system.

“We will notify the public, and we will be available to take some planned tours through both plants so the public can see the aging infrastructure. We might do it on numerous occasions, but everyone will be notified,” Zucal said, adding that evening and Saturday tours might be scheduled for people who are working.

Sabatino suggested using the city website to further notify the public.

During its previous meeting, council heard a proposal to privatize the aging and deteriorating water and wastewater systems.

While the city will not move on that issue until after the first of the year, and public hearings will take place before any decision, Mayor Terry Pugh said tours of the systems should enable to public to further inform themselves.

“Firsthand knowledge of what our water plant is and what our sewer plant is. In other words…to take a look at our infrastructure and see for themselves how old it is,” Pugh said.

He added that the city would expect current water and wastewater employees to be hired under any new auspices should the privatization go through.

“We would be pushing for all our employees to be employed by anyone else that may purchase either the water or the sewer operation,” Pugh said.

Sabatino also reported recent waterline breaks caused by freezing and thawing of pipes, but commended the city employees’ work.

“The miscellaneous EPA mandates increasingly are causing a financial burden not only on St. Clairsville, but many, many communities throughout the Ohio Valley and throughout the United States in general,” he said.

Zucal said afterward that the owning entity would assume responsibility if the city chooses to privatize.

In other matters, council also approved the creation of a permanent improvement fund for royalties from a well near Barton Road. Pugh said the money will be put in a fund to be used for capital improvements, particularly in event of a costly emergency such as the need to quickly replace a malfunctioning pump. He said the city receives an average of more than $7,000 per month for about eight months. There may be $150,000 in the fund.

Zucal also reported the city has made progress on guardrail replacements on Newell Avenue and on Legion Road, along with installing new storm sewers.

The Cumberland Trail Fire District is set to meet at 3 p.m. Dec. 12 at the fire station, but it may be necessary to reschedule to this Saturday.

The park district will meet at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Home Savings Bank. The recreation board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at the recreation center.

Pugh reminded residents that if there is more than 2 inches of snow, an ordinance allows vehicles to be towed.

“We’re asking to please move the vehicles off the street so we can have the roads cleared,” Pugh said. “Hopefully that’s not going to happen too many times.”

In addition, this is the last week the city will pick up loose leaves. After this, city employees will only pick up bagged leaves. Residents are asked to call 740-695-1324 to arrange pickup.

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