Commissioners hear more road concerns

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Commissioners heard more concerns about local roads and approved a loan to help expedite the next phase of the Eldersville Road sewer project.

The commissioners on Tuesday heard from Brian Ferguson, a member of the Brooke County school board, who asked them to push the state Division of Highways to repair area roads.

Ferguson noted slips and other road hazards, combined with the absence of guardrails, has led Ron Staffileno, school district transportation director, to alter bus routes.

He said as a result, some students have been forced to walk a mile to their bus stop.

Ferguson asked whether funds from the Roads to Prosperity bond issue will be used to repair local roads.

County Commissioner Stacey Wise noted the bond issue was introduced to support $800 million in major road projects, such as the Route 2 bypass in New Cumberland. But she added state officials have said the bond issue should free up other state money for road repair and maintenance projects throughout the state.

Wise and fellow Commissioner Jim Andreozzi said that unfortunately, staff with the Division of Highways’ district office have related they are short staff and resources and are trying to spread them across a region that includes hundreds of slips and other damages.

Andreozzi questioned whether the state Division of Highways, as a whole, is adequately funded by the state Legislature.

He suggested the school board, as a group, lobby the state for more repairs to local roads, citing concerns about students’ safety.

In other business, the commission agreed to provide a $50,000 loan to the Brooke County Public Service District for the acquisition of easements for the next phase of the Eldersville Road sewer project.

Barb Zimnox, community specialist for the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, said the money will be repaid by the district’s board once state funds are released for the project and will help plans move forward.

The district secured a 30-year loan of $2,695,000 from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $65,000 in state grants and allocated $20,000 of its own funds for the estimated $2.7 million project. It involves the extension of sewer lines on Eldersville Road east from Kaul’s bend and on St. John’s Road north from Black’s Hollow. It’s a continuation of two earlier projects that provided wastewater treatment to more than 600 homes and businesses on Eldersville Road, Mahan Lane and adjacent lanes and in the Cross Creek area, including Brooke High School and adjacent areas.

Andreozzi said once that project is done, the district can consider the extension of sewer lines to the Washington Pike area.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Tabled a request for additional funds from the county’s economic development authority for a local match for proposed participation in the AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America program and other projects. In recent months the board has teamed with the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce with a goal of revitalizing downtown Wellsburg. Andreozzi said the commissioners are preparing for a number of large projects, including upgrades to the county’s emergency 911 system, that should consume any funds not already allocated.

Wise said she supports the EDA’s efforts but the commissioners also provide funding to the Business Development Corp.of the Northern Panhandle and the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and its economic development arm, the Brooke-Hancock Development Council.

• Announced winners of the chili cookoff sponsored by it at the Brooke County Fair. The winners were Andreozzi, who donated the $75 he won back to the fair; Renee Stock, who won $25 for placing second; and Judy Ennis, who won $15, third. The $1 votes and a $15 registration fee charged of each entrant went to the fair.

• Reappointed Bobbi Elliott, Gary Steve and Vicki Gallagher to the county museum board.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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