STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners Thursday were asked by a county water customer to hold a public meeting concerning the proposal to take over Smithfield's water system.
Harry Andrews of county Road 46, Toronto, said the public should have an input into the proposal. Andrews said he has been told by other water customers they are against the proposal.
The commissioners have made a final offer concerning the Smithfield water system in which the county would take over the village's water system, forgive up to $150,000 in owed water bills and make improvements to the village's water system.
County Commissioner Thomas Graham said Smithfield can pay the $150,000 owed, the county could take over the system and forgive the debt or the county could bypass Smithfield and force the village to find another source of water.
Graham said a public meeting will be scheduled but a date has not been set.
Smithfield officials said a public meeting will be held on Sept. 5 to discuss with village residents the pros and cons of the county's offer.
"We can't let Smithfield not pay its bill. All the scenarios will be laid out at the public meeting," Graham said.
Graham said the meeting will be held in Smithfield because it affects Smithfield residents.
County Commissioner Tom Gentile said he has not received any negative comments from residents about the county taking over Smithfield's water system.
"The people in Smithfield aren't getting the correct information," he said.
County Commissioner David Maple said county water customers should expect the issue to be resolved.
"County water customers don't want to continue selling water and Smithfield not paying its bill. Will everyone be happy? I guarantee they won't," Maple said.
Graham said one of the roles of government is to help people. He said there can be disagreements on how that is achieved.
"Taking over the Smithfield system and helping (residents) get water needs to be considered," Graham said.
In other matters, Shannan Gosbin, county director of sanitary engineering, said Pottery Addition residents will be getting certified letters in the next couple days stating they have 90 days from Sept. 1 to connect their homes to the county's new sewer lines in the community.
Commissioners also signed a contract with Shelly and Sands of Rayland for the repaving of county Road 15. About 4.62 miles of the road between Smithfield and county Road 16 will be repaved. Part of the cost is being paid for through the Ohio Public Works Commission. The county engineer's estimate was $734,375. Shelly and Sands submitted the low bid of $653,840.
Commissioners also agreed to advertise for bids on behalf of the county engineer's department for a bridge rehabilitation project on Springfield Township Road 278. The engineer's estimate is $52,660.
Commissioners also opened bids for two buses to be used by the Jefferson County Department of Developmental Disabilities.