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Weirton to use a portion of ARP funds on utility projects

Committee favors improving water, sanitary treatment systems with ARP money

MEETING — The Weirton Finance Committee met Wednesday, recommending approval of a resolution which would set aside a total of $2 million from the city’s American Rescue Plan funding, this year, to go toward improvement projects for Weirton’s water and sanitary systems. The resolution will be voted on by the full city council Monday. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Weirton Council will vote, Monday, on whether to allocate a portion of its American Rescue Plan funding toward improvements to the city’s water and sanitary treatment systems.

A resolution, recommended Wednesday by members of the city’s Finance Committee, will go before council when it convenes at 7 p.m., Monday, in the council chambers of the Weirton Municipal Building.

Under the resolution, $1 million will be allocated for upgrades to the water treatment plant, and $1 million will go for the wastewater treatment plant.

The city is in the process of planning expansions for both its water and wastewater treatment plants, with the goal of increasing capacity for both plants from their current 4 million gallons-per-day to 8 million gallons-per-day. Weirton is set to receive approximately $10 million through the ARP, with half already in-hand.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Finance Director Diana Smoljanovich explained plans are to set aside the funding, with the Weirton Area Water Board and the Weirton Sanitary Board each required to submit their requests for payment to the Finance Department, instead of giving the utilities direct access.

“As the invoices come in, they’re going to get them to me,” she said.

A similar method has been used as part of a wall repair project at the Millsop Community Center undertaken by the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash, who is sponsoring the resolution, said he plans to put forward a similar request in the future, after the city receives its second distribution of ARP funds.

“I have every intention of putting $2 million in each one,” Ash said.

According to a draft copy of the resolution, provided by Ash, Weirton, to date, has received $5.1 million from the ARP, which includes water and sewer projects as eligible uses.

The draft resolution further states “utilizing the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 funds will relieve the rate burden the city residents must bear.”

Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, chair of the Finance Committee, recommended including language concerning the payment method into the resolution; however, City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo said he feels it would be unnecessary.

DiBartolomeo reminded the committee, though, if the resolution is approved, it would mean the city would have about $3 million remaining of its ARP funds for the year to use for other projects.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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