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Washington County Commission hears transportation bids

From left, County Engineer Roger Wright, Southeastern Ohio Port Authority Director Jesse Roush, Commissioner Jamie Booth and Commissioner Charlie Schilling discuss county projects after Thursday’s meeting of the board of commissioners. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

The Washington County Board of Commissioners was presented with two contracts for non-emergency transportation from the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services.

In the past, there have been multiple companies who have bid for the work, but due to the increased cost of gasoline, only two organizations bid — Washington Morgan Community Action and 1st Choice.

JFS Director Flite Freimann said they opened the bids two weeks ago and they’ve had a good working relationship with both organizations.

“We’re going to be in the position, if one of these two providers for whatever reason, cannot transport one of our seniors to a medical appointment, we will not be able to fulfill (the order),” he said. “In the past, we’ve always had four or five so that we always had options.”

Freimann said his office called to find out why the other companies did not bid and were told there is too much uncertainty and they couldn’t guarantee the rate if the cost of gasoline continues to rise.

“These are the real world ramifications of that,” he said.

The commission also approved the first invoice, for $66,480, for the Devola Electric Upgrade project.

Commissioner Jamie Booth said he spoke with Scott Offenberger of Davis Pickering (DPC) and was told they’ve been in contact with a little more than 190 customers of the 400 they’ve reached out to. It has been difficult to reach residents to schedule appointments to start the electrical part of the sewer project, so residents are encouraged to call 740-525-9698.

County Engineer Roger Wright said the invoice covers work DPC has done and it helps them purchase materials to cover the upfront costs to get started.

Wright said there are still growing pains in the sewer project process.

“This isn’t an everyday project. It’s not like replacing a culvert or roof. This is new ground,” Booth said.

“To say this is complicated is an understatement,” Wright agreed.

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