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Economics, Re-Employment On Belmont County Agenda

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – County leaders fielded economic questions Wednesday, took another step in infrastructure upgrades and heard a request from an employee to remain at his job while collecting Social Security.

Belmont County 911 Deputy Director Jim Delman put in a request for retirement and re-appointment. He appeared with 911 Director Bryan Minder.

“In April I’ll be taking my Social Security and I don’t want to quit work,” Delman said. “I love my job and I want to keep doing it.”

Delman has worked for 911 for 15 years, making him one of the longest-serving employees at the office.

“I was involved in it from it’s very inception, when it was a technical advisory committee I was involved with it,” he said. “I was a dispatcher for 12 years.”

Minder spoke in support of the request.

“I definitely would love to have him back in the position he’s currently in,” Minder said. “He has a lot of knowledge, brings a lot to the job. I appreciate what he does day-in and day-out. I don’t know if I could find another person like him and not have at least a year, a year-and-a-half, two years maybe worth of training to get them to the point where he’s at.”

Delman is paid $43,349.29 yearly. He said he plans to continue working for five to six years.

“Belmont County 911 is one of the best-run departments in Belmont County and continually performs above expectations,” Commissioner J.P. Dutton said. “We’ll take (the request) under advisement.”

In other matters, the commissioners took another step in a long-planned water and wastewater improvement project and advertised bids for replacing the county water treatment plant, the replacement of a 24-inch distribution line, the pump station on Ohio 9, metering and a water and sewer district service building addition.

This after last week’s motion to advertise for wastewater system improvement bids.

Wastewater bids will be coming in Nov. 24, and water bids Nov. 18.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has committed $60.5 million in grants and loans to the project.

“This is going to be a very busy few weeks here with those bids,” Dutton said. “Hopefully we’ll be moving on those projects, with dirt actually moving in 2021.”

In answer to a question from guest Richard Hord of Martins Ferry, Dutton said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette had intended to visit Belmont County last Friday to discuss a possible ethane cracker plant that may come to the Dillies Bottom area. That visit had to be canceled when members of his security detail tested positive for COVID-19.

“(Bouillette) himself had tested negative, but just of an abundance of caution they had to cancel the event,” Dutton said, adding that officials are working on rescheduling a visit.

“It’s very encouraging. … There is a lot of assistance, coordination and cooperation from the Department of Energy,” Dutton said.

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