Devola sewer project gets $1M funds
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently selected the Devola sewer project for federal funding in the amount of $1.075 million.
Washington County Commissioner Charlie Schilling announced the funding at Thursday morning’s commission meeting.
“This is a really big deal and it just goes to show the work that we have been putting in … in order to help the residents of Devola,” he said. “Not only the residents of Devola, but the residents of Washington County when it comes to the sewer system.”
A letter from the Corps’ planning, programs and project management division said the sewer project was deemed eligible for the Section 594 Program. The funding is applicable toward project design and construction costs.
“This is a reimbursable program and should not be considered a grant program,” the letter stated. “The Corps of Engineers is authorized to provide funding for a defined scope of work with cost sharing at 75 percent federal and 25 percent non-federal.”
The letter notes the project budget reflects $358,333 matching local cost share funds and $1.075 million Corps of Engineers funds.
The estimated reimbursement for project invoices is $1 million.
“We’re not satisfied with $1 million,” Schilling said. “We want to get this entire project paid for.”
He said this was the first step to a lot more they could bring in with some of the conversations they’ve been having.
“That is definitely the ultimate goal,” Commissioner Jamie Booth reiterated. “We absolutely want to keep working on it.”
Discussion was also held on the possibility of raising sewer rates.
Schilling said every year, the board has to look at the sewer account.
“I think we all know that we have some issues out there within the county when it comes to our infrastructure, and basically, those issues come with time,” he said. “Over time, things deteriorate. We really need to be able to keep up on that maintenance.”
He said sewer customers could be looking at a slight increase across the board.
“We have the task of overseeing the sewer system, and making sure that it is functionally sound,” he explained. “If it’s not functionally sound, we need to do something about it.”
Booth said there were some very serious issues in the sewer system on Ohio 339, including grinder pump lift stations that were installed in 1994.
“You have to maintain your equipment,” he said. “We’re not going to wait until it breaks to fix it. Do some proper planning and get a hold on this situation, so that’s what we’re in the process of doing.”
He said the board would try to be responsible, but the increase would be needed to sustain what they currently have.
“None of us want that to happen, none of us wish for that to happen, but that’s the cost of doing business,” Commission President Kevin Ritter said. “That’s the cost of a court decision against the county. So that’s where we’re headed.”
The board agreed to table the issue until next week’s meeting.
Members of the Veterans Service Commission met with commissioners after their regular business meeting to discuss a resolution to officially name their building after a Veterans Service officer who died in May 2020.
“We’re not looking to change the name of the Veterans Service Commission. We’ll always be known as the Washington County Veterans Service Commission,” said Jared Smith, VFW Washington County Veterans Service commander. “Our proposed name is the Washington County Chad D. Wright Veterans Service Office.”
The veterans commission asked that a formal resolution be made which would support and allow them to name the building after Wright.
“Where we do our business and where he had found a home and became a legend throughout the service that he provided our veterans.”
Wright was both inducted into the Washington County Veterans Hall of Fame and recognized as the veteran of the year last year.
Smith said they were looking to do a dedication of the building on Memorial Day, as Wright died the Saturday before Memorial Day 2020.
The commissioners agreed to the resolution and it will be added to next week’s agenda.
Michele Newbanks can be reached at email@example.com.