Commissioners get busy on transportation district

LISBON -Columbiana County commissioners are wasting little time putting in place a program they hope will provide access to funding needed to revive the U.S. Route 30 project.

Commissioners on Wednesday voted to establish a transportation improvement district (TID), a program that will make the county eligible to seek funding from other sources for transportation projects such as Route 30. The action comes one week after commissioners hired a Columbus law firm for up $11,750 to help them establish a TID.

The Ohio Department of Transportation sets aside $3.5 million annually specifically for TIDs, and TIDs are eligible to seek up to $250,000, which is what the county intends to do. The money would be used to further study turning Route 30 into a highway.

TIDs also have the authority to raise money for transportation projects through either an income or property tax, tax increment financing, or issuance of construction bonds approved by a five-member board.

Included in the resolution was the appointment of the following people to the TID oversight board: Commissioner Jim Hoppel, former Commissioner Penny Traina, county Engineer Bert Dawson, county Development Director Tad Herold, and John Ross, a Homeworth resident who serves on the Route 30 Energy Corridor Committee pushing the Route 30 project.

In other action at the meeting, commissioners:

– Approved the request of the engineer’s office to seek construction bids to extend the county waterline on County Home Road in Center Township to the Ohio Department of Transportation complex on U.S. Route 30, a distance of 1.3 miles. ODOT is building a new complex on the site, but before it could do so it needed to obtain water and sanitary sewer service. The state is covering the entire cost.

– Held an investment advisory board meeting with county Treasurer Linda Bolon, who reported county general fund investment income to date totals $52,000, which is down because interest rates are often below 1 percent for secure, short-term investments.

– Authorized the county engineer’s office to enter into a contract with Lake Erie Construction of Norwalk for guardrails. The company’s bid of $272,854 was the lowest received.

– Approved closing a half mile section of Gaston Road in Middleton Township. The section is at a dead-end and affects one property owner, who requested it be closed. The township trustees had no objection.

– Agreed to fill a vacancy in the child support enforcement division of the county Department of Job and Family Services by hiring Jill Jurjavic, who was recommended for the position by the JFS.