Steubenville can get his social security office back | News, sports, jobs
Steubenville can get his social security office back |  News, sports, jobs

Steubenville can get his social security office back | News, sports, jobs

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County is on the verge of getting its Social Security office back, and Jefferson County commissioners are closer to getting a major tenant in the house in the Tower office center.

Commissioners came from a 12-minute executive session Thursday to give Commissioner Tony Morelli permission to sign a lease with the General Services Administration, subject to final review by the legal adviser.

“We’re one step closer to getting a Social Security office back in Jefferson County,” said Morelli. “The print on the cake is that they’re going to rent from the Towers building, so that’s good.”

Social Security was present in the mall a few years ago but had some leasing issues and when the pandemic hit, employees were moved to the East Liverpool office.

Commissioner Tom Graham credited Morelli for identifying the void and seizing the opportunity to fill it, citing “Conversations he has had with U.S. Representative Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, about this.”

“That was the point we were trying to drive home, we need to give Johnson, his staff, some ‘attaboys’ – they helped us get Social Security attention,” he said. said Morelli.

“We all said we needed a Social Security office in Jefferson County, and we had space, too. But the driving force was to get one back here in the county, and it worked really well for us.”

Graham said he is excited that Social Security will return to Steubenville “and it will be right here, accessible, in a building in the center of Steubenville,” pointed out that years ago the local office was located in the Towers.

“We’re happy to have them back in the Towers building where they were at one point,” said Graham. “We have been working on this for a couple of months, and now it looks like it will happen. We are happy to have them back. “

Maple pointed out that when commissioners bought the Towers building almost a decade ago, “I think we paid $ 800,000 for (it) and put a few million in it. Now we’re looking at 90 percent (building) capacity.”

“I think it was a good buy” Morelli interjected. “I would like to take credit for that, but I was not there at the time. It was a smart purchase.”

Maple said at the time, “We paid rent… the board of health, land and water, OSU Extension, almost everyone in there, it came out of the general fund. Now, because it is public-private, we have got income to cover some of the rent, so that’s good. ”

“Do the math on what Social Security will bring in, it’s going to be about $ 50,000 extra a year for our general fund,” said Morelli.

Commissioners also awarded the contract for repairs of fire escapes to Cattrell Cos. Inc. in Toronto. The total bid was $ 698,400, well below the $ 795,000 budgeted for the job, and will include removal and repair of all lead paint as well as glass panels and frames, reinstallation of exit doors, steel preparation and installation of steel mesh panels with supporting angle frames and solid grade steel sheets. , priming and painting of the entire structure, installation of emergency lighting, replacement of existing tower roof cladding and any various repairs.

“This is good news,” said Graham. “It’s been a couple of years along the way. I look forward to getting this project done properly.”

Maple, who abstained due to a potential conflict of interest, said he was “glad this one is moving forward.”

However, a question arose as to which account they should withdraw the funds from, and Morelli suggested that they should ask their consultant before taking the money out of their ARPA funds.

“Right now, no decision needs to be made about where the money will be taken from to pay them,” said Graham.

“With the last proposal we made, the board confirms that it has the money to pay them from two or three sources,” Maple added. “We just have not chosen one yet.”

“I agree,” said Graham. “The money is there to pay for it, it’s just a matter of where we want to take it from.”

Graham, meanwhile, said it was a relief to know that the fire escape would be rehabilitated, pointing out that it would complete the renovation of the exterior of the courthouse.

“We spent (already) $ 1 million (on the outside), but the fire escape was so unhygienic that we let it go until we had the money.” he said. “It will be a big boost for the courthouse and the surrounding area to get it done, and I’m glad a local contractor got it.”

He said the work “will begin soon this year.

Commissioners also signed the new three-year contract negotiated for job and family service workers. Employees will experience increases of 3 percent per year each year during the term of the agreement.

County Dale Poole called on commissioners to reject the Prevention and Recovery Council’s request for a referendum on the November referendum, saying people with fixed incomes are being pushed to the brink.

“They want to put it on the ballot and it’s the property owners who pay for it,” he said. “Just this year, I’ve had an increase of $ 400 because of the school fee. There have to be other ways to fund some of these other projects. It’s just hard. I have a steady income. If they keep raising the property tax , someone will sooner or later lose their home because they can not afford to pay.

“I’m not saying they are not doing a good job – just find other ways to pay for it,” Poole pleaded.

The board had told commissioners three weeks ago that they needed the money to support a budget ruined by state aid cuts – it has gone from $ 8 million in 2011 to $ 3.7 million in 2021, though opioid addiction has ravaged the county.

Commissioners made no decision and told PRB officials that they should do one first “deep road” into their economy “to ensure that there was a need and no other options before proposing a tax to taxpayers.”

“We do not fund that agency,” said Graham. “And if someone comes to us and asks if they can impose a tax, and Commissioner Maple says, ‘We need to look deep into their economy,’ he thinks. And people have the right to vote yes or no. . ”

Maple said the deep dive is underway. Meanwhile, he said the Commissioners are “I really appreciate your attitude that people do not have tons of money for extra tax. We will continue to appreciate that.”

On the other hand, he pointed out that there are people in Jefferson County who need the services that PRB provides, “So we have to keep evaluating it.”

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