West Jeff seeks funds for street work

(Posted Feb. 23, 2017)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The village of West Jefferson hopes to continue its streak of winning state funding for infrastructure improvements.

The application deadline for the Ohio Public Works Commission’s (OPWC) small government program was Feb. 22. West Jefferson applied for funding to reconstruct and repave Walnut Street and Fellows Avenue from the north village limits to Garfield Avenue.

The estimated cost of the project is $791,800. OPWC funding would provide the village with $213,400 in a grant and $213,400 in a no-interest loan, payable over 20 years. The village would be responsible for the remaining $365,000 as up-front local share.

John Mitchell, public service director, said the village has a good chance of securing the funding. Applications are judged on a point system. Points are earned for factors including life of the project, amount of daily traffic the area sees, local contribution of funds, and the municipality’s willingness to take the no-interest loan.

“We scored high enough, we’re in the top five (projects) in our six-county region,” Mitchell said at the Feb. 20 village council meeting.

OPWC will announce the winners sometime between March and May. Projects will go out to bid after July 1.

West Jefferson has completed four OPWC-funded projects in the last five years. Two years ago, Kirkwood Avenue and Parkdale Road were reconstructed, a $1.275 million project. Last year, a water main was replaced in Merriman North, a $400,000 project.

Mitchell also is heading up efforts to mitigate and remove inflow and infiltration problems in the village’s sanitary sewer lines, a common issue for municipalities across the country, he said.

So far, crews have used cameras to find trouble spots, cutting out tree roots and using a jet vacuum to clear debris. Data from new flow monitors, purchased last year, is helping with the process.

Jen Warner, council vice president, is heading up the committee responsible for organizing a public open house for the village’s new community center site, the Zion Lutheran Church at 221 S. Center St. A date for the event has yet to be announced.

Council member Mike Conway asked about progress on an ordinance regulating the number of dogs a person can have on one property. The issue has been ongoing for nearly two years, he said. Mayor Ray Martin said the Planning and Zoning Commission is tweaking a proposed ordinance. He said it should be presented to council by June.

Debbie DiLeo, finance director, said the village is advertising for the assistant finance director position. The application deadline is March 10. The salary range is $45,000 to $55,000.

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