By Linda Harris

Personal editor

STEUBENVILLE — The Steubenville and Jefferson County Public Library has proposed changing its state classification from free municipal library status to district library status.

Library director Mike Gray told Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday that he would like to meet with them to discuss the proposal, which he said would be “Better reflect the commitment to provide library service to all residents of Jefferson County.”

In his request, Gray pointed out that in addition to the main library on Fourth Street in downtown Steubenville, the system has branches in Adena, Brilliant, Dillonvale, Mall Drive in the West End of Steubenville, Tiltonsville and Toronto. , as well as a bookmobile. “who serves everywhere” the count.

Changing the statute would require commissioners to appoint four members to the library board, with the other three members appointed by the presiding judge of the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas.

“We will better reflect our status as a county library system and our council, going forward, will better represent the county,” Gray added.

Commissioner Tom Graham recommended inviting Gray to a meeting to discuss it, while Commissioner Dave Maple suggested having Assistant District Attorney Shawn Blake review the Ohio Review Court to determine the impact of the change on the commissioners and “which we are fully responsible for if this happens.”

“I think it makes sense” said commissioner Tony Morelli.

In other cases, Commissioners:

∫ With Brickler and Ecler approval, executed contracts with the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board for U.S. bailout funds for the development of a new residential treatment center ($50,000) and expansion of drug prevention services ($120,000). The commissioners have accepted Bricker & Ecler’s recommendation that they have the salvage board submit “the purchase orders for these services, so the spending will go through commissioners, rather than us just giving them the money to spend.”

∫ Signed rental agreements for beds in the county’s juvenile detention center in two other counties in Pennsylvania – Tioga and Cambria – for $205 a day. The rent helps offset the costs of running the detention center, said juvenile court administrator Joe Colabella.

“I believe that’s 31 or 32 contracts that we have with the State of Pennsylvania for the use of the beds,” he said, adding that one couple had year-round contracts.

“It’s been a lifeline for the general fund,” said Graham. “We have to fund juvenile detention, there is no option here.”

Morelli asked Colabella if they could expect the children’s home to operate comparably if they made the proposed $1.13 million upgrades – “The model is the same, right? »

“Absolutely,” he has answered.

The Department of Employment and Family Services had requested up to $1.13 million in ARPA funds to renovate the McCullough Children’s Home. The upgrades would coincide with efforts to gain accreditation as a qualified residential treatment program, which commissioners say would allow McCullough to house children from outside Jefferson County when space permits.

With other counties already undertaking their own construction projects, he said it may be too late to consider expanding the scope of the prison.

“There is money for bricks and mortar right now, but people have to see if they can sustain it fiscally, year after year,” Colabella said, adding that he was in contact with officials in other counties who are complaining about “labour issues”. He said this was in addition to the call from the detention center.

“We were very lucky with our staff” he said. “It’s much cheaper and more profitable to use us than to (build) and try to maintain it.”

Colabella reminded the commissioners that the detention center currently has 22 beds. “Just think if we had (more.)”

Maple, meanwhile, pointed out that the sheriff’s department charges other counties less than a third of that amount to house their prisoners.

“This business model, I think we need to look at it carefully,” he says, adding that he doesn’t want Jefferson County taxpayers’ money “subsidize the costs of prisoners from another county.”

“Never has a Jefferson County miner gone unserved by our court and detention center,” Colabella pointed out. “They are first and foremost. Our children come first, that’s why we’re here, to serve them first.

Colabella said from his point of view, “You just need to develop some kind of equation, a cost analysis of your daily rate versus your monthly rate and see where you are. And at the end of the day, we’re not running a Fortune 500 company by any means, but we want to try to make money to try to make up the general fund. That’s why we do it.

∫ Cashed a check for $24,236 from the County Risk Sharing Authority, reflecting insurance payment for a claim arising from a June 1 power outage at the Towers Building.

“We weren’t the only ones who lost power” Maintenance supervisor Patrick Boyles told the stewards. “Unfortunately, when that current died out, everything was trying to run off the two legs of a three-leg system. It’s a three-phase system — it won’t work.

Boyles said he lost 11 LED lights, a pump motor and rooftop fan motors to the failure, “so it was pretty extensive.”

“Even with a surge protector, when you lose a leg like that, there’s really nothing (you can’t do anything). If you can get there to stop things fast enough, you can probably save (stuff) but you can’t, you don’t know it’s happening. So luckily it was covered by insurance.

• Paid Cattrell Cos. Inc. $4,125 to correct a cooling problem at the courthouse.

Boyles said it took two workers three days to fix the wiring problem.

“I give Cattrell credit – they stayed there, they found it,” he said, explaining that the problems stemmed from a control problem. “Some floors were air-conditioned, others not. We called Cattrell, they spent three days going through the wiring.

He said that during installation some wires were scraped.

“The wires have been squeezed too tightly into the conduit itself so that it skims the outer insulation. It can sit there for years before it comes in contact with something and shorts it out,” Boyle said.

“It took them a while to find (the problem) but they found it,” he said. “It was something that, when installed, should have been done a little better than it was.”

• Decided to ask Brickler & Ecler if they can use ARPA funds to cover a $13,211 change order for the renovation of the third floor courtroom. McKinley & Associates architect Victor Greco requested the change to cover the cost of a “better quality carpet with the necessary cushion.”

Greco said they had been conservative in the carpet specifications when bidding for the project because the committee had not made its final decision. Since then, the design committee has opted for premium commercial grade carpeting as the better alternative, although it requires nearly 100 yards more and costs more. Before making his choice, he said the committee checked the alternatives.

“It will already be a nice space, in my opinion, but adding this level of quality (makes it even better),” said Greco.

“If it had been included in the original offer, we probably wouldn’t have (questioned) it,” Maple remarked. “With that logic, I’m okay with that.”

• Reappointment of Howard Hanna broker Russell Kuntz to the Port Authority of Jefferson County Board of Directors.

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