ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The City is opening new resources for homeowners of limited means who wish to improve their properties.
On Monday, the city council passed an ordinance authorizing the execution of a housing revolving loan fund administration agreement with the Ohio Department of Development. This will allow the City to start spending money that has not been used for almost 10 years.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Tom Murphy said there was an unused fund of about $102,000.
“The agreement allows us to spend those funds,” he said. “It’s sort of a first step.”
The town would work with the regional council of Belomar and start offering loans to homeowners.
“That would be the goal. To be able to rehabilitate two houses with these funds,” Murphy said. “People could apply and be on the verge of doing housing renovation and rehabilitation. They should have a low or moderate income. … They should repay some of the funds. This would allow us to replenish the fund.
Murphy said the offer may prove welcome.
“We think there is some demand. I don’t think we’ll have a problem finding owners.” he said. “The next step is to work with Belomar and work with the owners to let people know that these funds are available.”
It remains to be determined how much they should repay, as well as the upper limit of the loans.
Separately, Mayor Kathryn Thalman reported several ongoing issues, including the dumping of inappropriate waste in or around recycling bins near the St. Clairsville High School football stadium. While some of the litter may have been due to bins being full and the wind blowing trash, Thalman said unused food was also dumped in this area.
“I didn’t catch them, but there was a fair amount of broccoli and peppers. It looked like a restaurant throwing food there,” said Thalman. “We don’t know that for sure, but (the attendant) said just from the quantity, and you can’t do that. There are going to be rodents, so we need to do some cleaning up there.
Thalman said a camera could be placed in the area.
Additionally, Safety and Services Manager Jeremy Greenwood reported on progress in establishing a permanent water main from the water treatment plant. In August 2021, city workers discovered the water main was leaking, and a temporary water main has since been installed along Reservoir Road.
Greenwood said the city has applied for a loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority of about $800,000 and he hopes to know by the end of the month if the city has received it.
“If we didn’t get that one, we applied last month for loans from Ohio (Environmental Protection Agency). Those don’t come out until June,” said Greenwood.
He added that the city would not know if the old line envelope under I-70 could be used or if a new one would need to be drilled until construction began. This could mean a cost difference between $800,000 and $1-2 million.
“It’s out of our hands. We just have to wait and see,” said Greenwood.
Councilwoman Beth Oprisch also raised the issue of street paving. Due to anticipated increases in paving costs, Greenwood recommended chipping and sealing for now and saving paving funds for next year.
“It’s going to be very expensive this year” Greenwood said, adding that paving plants have yet to open.
Councilor Mark Thomas suggested going to bid and determining the costs.
Greenwood indicated which streets have not been determined.
“I would have no problem bidding and seeing where the numbers are coming from, but they are going to be outrageously expensive,” said Greenwood. “We don’t know which streets.”
Greenwood said laneways would also be considered.
Board Chairman Jim Velas noted that beginning at the next meeting on April 18, all board meetings will be held at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m.
“This will be the first meeting with the new time change”, he said.