STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County commissioners awarded contracts for the Brilliant booster station and water line improvement contract Thursday even though one of the contracts exceeded the engineer's estimate.
Shannan Gosbin, county water and sewer department director, said the engineer's estimate for the project was $4.3 million for three separate contracts under the project. The three contracts as bid total $3.1 million.
Ohio-West Virginia Excavating of Powhatan Point bid $673,000 for the construction of the booster station building. The engineer's estimate was $600,000 for that part of the project. Ohio-West Virginia Excavating's bid was more than 10 percent over the estimate.
Gosbin said Ohio law is clear the contract can be awarded because the total of the three contracts is less than the engineer's estimate. She said the county prosecutor's office also agreed the contract can be awarded.
Commissioner Thomas Graham said he wants a written opinion from the prosecutor's office saying the contract for Ohio-West Virginia Excavating can be awarded. Commissioners approved the contract pending the opinion.
Fort Steuben Maintenance of Steubenville was awarded the contract for electrical work on the booster station building in the amount of $662,500. Precision Pipeline of Lancaster was awarded the contract for the installation of water lines in the amount of $1,768,078.
Gosbin said construction should start in January, with completion in about nine months.
A new pump house will be built in Brilliant and 24,000 feet of 10-inch water lines will be installed from the pump station to the water tower in New Alexandria.
Gosbin said the current pump station was intended to serve 450 customers, but now serves 1,200 customers.
The county also has reached an agreement to take over the Smithfield water system, which will be fed with water from the new pump station and water lines. The commissioners have requests from numerous residents in the south end of the county to receive county water, including the Bradley area outside Smithfield.
Malcolm Pernie, the county's water and sewer engineering consultant, will have information about the Bradley water line extension next week.
County Commissioner Tom Gentile said "this is a great first step" in getting water to residents in the Smithfield and Bradley areas.
In other matters, commissioners agreed to send a written offer for the purchase of the Towers building on Market Street. The exact amount of the offer wasn't made public because real estate negotiations don't have to be made public under state law.
Petrola Family Real Estate is the owner of the building.
A committee studied the purchase and recommended the county move forward with the possible purchase if an agreement could be reached on the price.
The county already spends $80,000 a year in rent for county offices located in the building, Gentile said. The commissioners want to move county offices currently being rented at other buildings into the Towers to save rent money.
Commissioners also approved three contract revisions between the county Job and Family Services Department and the Community Action Council for job training.
The first contract adds $315,535 for a program to retrain workers laid off from Severstal. Mike McGlumphy of CAC said 95 workers are receiving retraining. The contract addition will allow another 66 county residents who were laid off from the coke plant to get training to find employment.
The second contract adds $76,033 to the youth training program to allow young people to get work experience and skills training. McGlumphy said the contact addition will allow 56 youth to get training.
The third contract adds $166,533 for adult worker training and $164,675 for adult dislocated work training. McGlumphy said 39 dislocated adults and 55 adults will receive training with the extra money.
Funding for the programs comes through the state.
Commissioners also approved indigent defendant attorney bills for November in the amount of $47,765. The county has nearly run out of money to pay the attorney fees. Funding will have to be transferred to make the December payment.