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County to act on port authority

April 20, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners Thursday heard from City Manager Cathy Davison concerning the formation of a countywide port authority.

City Council is expected to approve an ordinance for the port authority on Tuesday, with the commissioners approving a resolution next Thursday.

Davison said council also will approve an ordinance abolishing the city's port authority.

The countywide port authority will be used as an economic development tool, capable of using eminent domain powers, issuing bonds and generating money through assessments for infrastructure for economic development projects.

Davison noted there will be no elected public officials on the port authority board.

City Council and the commissioners each appoint four members with a ninth member to be appointed by the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission. County Commissioner Thomas Graham said council's appointees will be from within Steubenville and the commissioners' appointees will be from outside the city so the entire county is represented.

The city's appointees will include a representative from the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce while the commissioners' will include an appointee from the Steubenville Area Board of Realtors.

The Community Improvement Corp. will transition into the new port authority, and the port authority will become the economic development tool of the county. Progress Alliance will continue to be a private-public partnership.

"We (council and the commissioners) met a year ago for the first time, and it took a year to get to this point," Davison said. "It has been well worth it because it laid the foundation for other projects," she said about the county and city agreement to treat sewage from Pottery Addition. "It is a good relationship."

County Commissioner David Maple said the port authority will put all the county's economic development tools in one place.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile said council and the commissioners worked hard to find common ground.

"We all had to leave our egos at the door and come up with the best deal for the city and county," he said.

In other matters, commissioners approved the following recreation grants from money generated by the county's piggyback sales tax:

Steubenville, $8,000; Toronto, $7,000; Adena, $5,000; Amsterdam, $5,000; Bergholz, $2,000; Bloomingdale, $4,000; Dillonvale, $4,000; Irondale, $1,800; Richmond, $5,000; Smithfield, $5,000; Stratton, $5,000; Brush Creek Township, $2,000; Island Creek Township, $5,000; Mount Pleasant Township, $3,000; Salem Township, $3,000; Saline Township, $4,000; and Springfield Township, $8,000. Rayland, Tiltonsville, Yorkville and Warren Township received $15,000 for a gazebo at the Warren Township Park. The county's fair board will receive $16,000.

Commissioners also agreed to provide $130,000 in county emergency funds to make a repair to the Friendship Park Lake dam.

Commissioners received a letter from the County Risk Sharing Authority, the county's liability insurance provider, that the organization will not provide liability insurance on the dam after September if repairs aren't made.

James Branagan of the Friendship Park Board said there is a seepage problem along the face of the dam. He said the water isn't coming through the dam from the lake but rather from an abutment of the dam. He said the park board has repair plans that were approved by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Branagan said the park board has advertised for the project and received a bid.

Commissioners also were informed the county's liability insurance cost for the year decreased by $15,000 to $369,013.

Commissioners also:

Were informed by Chesapeake Energy it will be building a gas well in Wayne Township and will be using county Roads 39 and 39B and Wayne Township Road 203 as hauling roads. Improvements to the roads will be made in the coming weeks. Wayne Township residents also received a copy of the letter.

Branagan, who also is county engineer, said Chesapeake already has bid out the road improvement project, and work will begin in the near future.

Agreed to advertise for bids for a bridge rehabilitation project on county Road 50 on behalf of the county engineer's department. The engineer's estimate for the work is $51,000.

Received a letter from the county prosecutor's office about timbering on property owned by the county on John Scott Highway. DeNoon Lumber offered the county $9,000 for 70 trees on the 21 acres of county property. The prosecutor's office said the timbering would have to be put out to bid.

Gentile requested the county's Water and Soil Conservation office get involved in developing a plan because of their expertise in timbering activities.

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