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Inspector use draws questions

August 30, 2013
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday questioned why the county health department turned to the Columbiana County Health Department for plumbing inspection instead of using an inspector from the Steubenville health department.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile raised the issue during the meeting and questioned Domenick Mucci, Steubenville mayor and acting city manager, who was at the meeting as the county's regional planning commission director.

The situation came about when Jefferson County's inspector retired.

Gentile claimed the Steubenville health department offered its plumbing inspector to the county health department, but the county health department declined the offer.

"It is hard to make sense of that," said county Commissioner Thomas Graham.

"It proves the Jefferson County Health Department does what it wants to do without regard for what is best for Jefferson County," Gentile said.

But Bruce Misselwitz, Jefferson County health department administrator, said after the meeting that the county has a memorandum of understanding between the health departments in Jefferson and Columbiana counties and the Steubenville health department that each department will cover for the others for plumbing inspections if a plumbing inspector is not available.

Misselwitz said the county's health department contacted Steubenville to cover plumbing inspections and was told by the city that its plumbing inspector would only go to Toronto and no other areas of the county.

"They (Steubenville) weren't available, so we went to Columbiana County," Misselwitz said.

Misselwitz said the county's health department is looking to hire a plumbing inspector.

County Commissioner David Maple said at the meeting he wanted a letter sent to the county health department asking for an explanation.

Patty Reda, Steubenville health department commissioner, wasn't available for comment.

In other matters, commissioners heard another complaint about poor restoration work done after the Crestview-Belvedere sewer project.

Commissioners have received numerous complaints from residents that yard restorations aren't being done to the satisfaction of the home owners.

Paul Terpenning of county Road 22A, Bloomingdale, told the commissioners the restoration work should have been completed months ago, in the spring.

"After a year, none of you would like your lawn to look like this," he said to the commissioners.

A representative of the county's water and sewer department said he would look into Terpenning's complaints. The department representative said the contractor is working through the list of complaints and has not gotten to Terpenning's yard yet.

In other matters, commissioners certified $15,083 in delinquent water and sewer department bills to the county auditor's office to be placed on the property taxes of the people who are late in paying water and sewer bills.

Commissioners also agreed to change an Ohio Public Works Commission grant. County Engineer James Branagan said the county received a grant to replace a bridge on county Road 56, but a bridge on county Road 7 needs more immediate work.

Commissioners also:

- Approved five demolition projects with Raze International of Shadyside under a state attorney general's demolition grand program. The demolitions total $35,210 for houses on state Route 151, Mingo Junction; Liberty Street, Dillonvale; Faith Street, Piney Fork; state Route 213, Island Creek Township; and county Road 15, Warren Township.

- Opened three bids for a new 911 communications tower near Dillonvale. Rohn Products of Peoria, Ill., was the apparent low bidder with a quote of $113,460.

- Opened three bids on behalf of the county engineer's department for a bridge replacement project on Springfield Township Road 278. D&L Unlimited Construction of Wintersville was the apparent low bidder, with a quote of $85,477. The engineer's estimate was $92,000.

- Received checks totaling $172,199 from the disbanded Community Improvement Corp. for the business revolving loan program.

Maple announced last week a committee will be appointed to handle the revolving loan funds for businesses. The committee will be made up of the city's urban projects director, one representative each from the county commissioners and Steubenville Council, the county's Regional Planning Commission director and a banking representative appointed by the rest of the committee.

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