St. C. meter upgrading progressing

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Council motioned to pursue the radio option.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE City council heard reports of several major projects during Monday's meeting.

Service Director Dennis Bigler reported an update on the process of upgrading meters. Any residents with questions about where their water meter is located or if the meter is accessible is asked to contact the utility office at (740) 695-1410 or the service director's office at (740) 695-0156.

"It's really in their interest to contact us now, because we have to get to and replace each and every meter for each and every customer. What we're trying to do is find out where the problems are so we can plan for them now, so they're a lot easier once the installation starts in March," he said, adding that the installation of electric meters will begin in February.

Also, training for the automated metering infrastructure project is ongoing at the utility office. A total of 21 hundred of water meters were received last week, with more to come.

The issue of data backhaul was also discussed. This includes the process of collecting data from customers and conduction points. Bigler reported the mainframe was up and running and the software is operational. However, the issue of collecting the data remains.

Bigler said the best practical option is the use of radios. He noted the advantages of price and of future adaptability, since they will have equipped antennas for multi-frequency operations such as adding cameras to observe main intersections and critical points in the city.

The budget for this part of the work was $110,000. A radio system would be $72,000. The city is attempting to get on a local company's antenna for a savings of up to $5,000. The city should have a priority frequency. The system's life is estimated to be as long as 20 years.

"It's going to cost us more up front, but the flexibility we'll have, having it under our control, and not having a constant escalation in price, we think are good things," he said.

"The capability is completely overwhelming for the city of St. Clairsville," said Mayor Robert Vincenzo. "I think it's very exciting and probably one of the most advanced things we will have done so far in this city."

Bigler also brought up the city's stake and contributions to the proposed I-70 intersection connector. He pointed out portions of roadwork planned to be undertaken by the Transportation Improvement District and state and federal sources, as well as the hundreds and thousands being spent by the private center to implement the planned St. Clair Commons.

Regarding the road plan, Bigler noted that the city controls a $6.9 million earmark and a $950,000 Track grant. The TID controls $750,000 in grants. Bigler noted that two grants will expire this year and next year. He said the $6.9 million and $950,000 spent this year by ODOT to benefit Mall Road in the interest of capacity and safety is almost entirely being spent outside the city's corporate limits.

He added that the city would maintain the portion of the road inside the city limits, with the balance south of the interstate for the county to maintain.

The city was also notified that all participants in the Blue Creek Wind project through AMP that unless all members wish to retain a share of renewable energy credits (RECS), they are recommended to authorize AMP to sell all 2014-15 RECs. AMP would prefer to have the decision by mid-December. Prices for 2013 were $3.80. They are projected to be close to $9 by 2014 and $12 by 2015.

In other matters, Vincenzo reported the Municipal Income Tax Bill has passed in the House and has now moved into the Senate for consideration. He said all of the revenue-neutral features proposed by the Ohio Municipal League have been addressed and refused.

"It will do severe damage to all the cities and villages that have a municipal income tax," said Vincenzo, adding that they will plead the case to the Senate. No hearings have yet been set.

Council also approved the re-appointment of Pauline Henry and Jack Halloran to the Architecture Board of Review.

The Christmas Parade will be held Thursday. No cars will be parked on Main and Marietta Streets beginning 4:30 p.m. The tree-lighting is at 6 p.m., with the parade after. The FOPA lodge is collecting presents across from the courthouse.

Council passed an ordinance to make additional permanent appropriations for expenses and expenditures of the city, Jan. 1, 2013-Dec. 31, 2013. These include $28,017.82 for wages, $2,500 in K-9 training, and $1,175 in K-9 expenses.

The fire district will hold its last meeting Dec. 30, 9 p.m. Two part time members have been hired.

Also, filming begins today for St. Clairsville's feature in the National League of Cities.

Work on the roof of the city building will begin this week or next week.

DeFrank can be reached at