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Project completion pushed

County getting complaints that yards not restored after sewer work

September 20, 2013
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners may send a letter to the contractor on the Crestview-Belvedere sewer project setting a deadline for the remaining work to be finished.

Commissioners have heard numerous complaints from residents that their yards have not been restored after being dug up for the installation of the sewers.

Rudzik Excavating of Struthers, the contractor, last week removed all of its equipment and workers from the job site and no further work has been done of the remaining work.

County Engineer James Branagan suggested at Thursday's commission meeting that a letter be sent to Rudzik setting a deadline for the work to be completed or the county will hire another company to finish the yard restoration work.

County Commissioner David Maple said the commissioners want to know if Rudzik is coming back in to complete the work. He said the county needs an answer before the county considers its next step.

The commissioners were informed a meeting was scheduled today at CT Consultants, the county's engineering consultant, in Youngstown with Rudzik but no county representatives were to appear at the meeting to discuss remaining work.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile said he wants the meeting to be held in Jefferson County with county representatives present.

Commissioners also met in executive session with county Prosecutor Jane Hanlin about a lawsuit threat by Cross Creek Township over the repair of roads during the sewer construction project.

John J. Mascio, Cross Creek Township solicitor, said damage to the roads is estimated at $30,000 to $60,000.

Mascio said there has been an "unwillingness" of the commissioners to address the issue of the damage to the roads.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham disagreed, saying the county has met with Rudzik about the repairs to the roads.

In other matters, commissioners agreed to provide an additional $4,000 to the county coroner's office because of an increase in the number of autopsies. The commissioners in August gave the office an additional $3,800 for autopsies.

Dr. Michael Scarpone, county coroner, said there has been twice as many homicides this year as in previous years. There have been seven homicides in Jefferson County, six of which occurred in Steubenville.

Commissioners asked Scarpone if there were any other ways to do autopsies or blood tests cheaper. Scarpone said autopsies are done in Cuyahoga County and blood tests are done at Trinity Medical Center West. He said the office has priced other sources, but the cost is about the same.

Gentile said the average person doesn't realize that crime is costing the county "a lot of money."

Scarpone agreed, saying he has realized the indirect costs to the county.

Maple said the commissioners didn't put a lot of money in the autopsy fund, knowing it was a risk.

Commissioners also approved $37,911 in attorney fees for indigent criminal defendants.

Commissioners also agreed to allow Branagan to contract with Burgess & Niple to do engineering work on a bridge on county Road 39 in Unionport at a cost not to exceed $202,810. Branagan said the bridge has been reduced to one lane and is in jeopardy of being closed. He said engineers at his department are working on four other bridge projects. Branagan hopes to begin repair work on the bridge next year.

Commissioners also agreed to advertise for bids for rehabilitation work on water towers in Bergholz and East Springfield.

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