MANY BELMONT County roads and bridges are in need of repair. That is no revelation.
Belmont County Engineer Fred Bennett realizes that more than anybody. He has the tough task of being the caretaker of county roads and bridges. Bennett has been our county engineer for so long, I cannot name his predecessor.
Thus, it is safe to say he knows the county roadways and structures better than anyone. He obviously has the wherewithal to get the job done.
Bennett, however, is hamstrung by one big problem. That being money, or rather the lack of it.
Paving is a pricey proposition these days. Bridge work doesn't come cheaply, either. It costs $65,400 to pave one mile of highway, 20 feet wide. That is astronomical.
That is compounded by Bennett's reporting that 80 bridges in the county cannot carry legal loads. That is scary and dangerous.
The engineer's office simply doesn't have the financial resources to tackle such a monstrous undertaking.
Bennett brought forth a proposal at Tuesday's commissioners' meeting to generate money for road and bridge work. Bennett is seeking a $10 increase in license plate fees.
As might be expected with any fee hike, it was greeted with mixed reviews.
According to figures supplied by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, such an increase would generate $536,000.
That is a sizable chunk of money which could yield much repair work. It would not solve all the problems facing the engineer's office, but it would be a good starting point.
I have no problems paying $20 (2 vehicles) knowing that it will be poured back into road work. A $10 payment is a small price to pay for a $536K return.
Local government entities are feeling the pinch of federal and state funding cuts. LGF reductions have really hampered local projects.
Don't look for that to change anytime soon for the better (if ever). So anting up $10 for a half-million dollars in improvements makes sense to me.
THE MONROE County Sheriff's Office holds just one fundraiser a year. Its K-9 Unit Basket Bingo will be held Saturday, May 18 at the Woodsfield Squad Building.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. An early bird drawing and a new 4-in-1 entertainer will be featured. The event will also have a country store, 50/50 drawing and plenty of food and refreshments.
For more information, call Peg Buckalew at 472-5517 or Claudia Baker ay 740-827-1525 or 472-1865 Monday through Friday.
PRELIMINARY PLANS are in motion to bring back the Bellaire Octoberfest celebration after a one-year hiatus. The festival proved a popular event for several years in the All-American Town before scheduling issues sidetracked it last year. It is a major undertaking by the festival committee but one that results in a great celebration.
THE FLUSHING-area Ruritan Club has erected a monument at the entrance to Schuler Park. The club also acquired the Flushing bell and flagpole. The monument serves to recognize individuals and families associated in and around the Flushing area. There are spaces still available for name plaques. Anyone wishing to buy a plaque should call Sandi Kidd at 740-968-4785 or any Flushing Ruritan member.
GEORGI RISER'S spaghetti was super at last Sunday's fundraising dinner at the Martins Ferry Rec Center. Proceeds benefitted the pool opening and operation. It proved a profitable event. Next up is a pancake breakfast on May 18 at the rec center from 9 a.m. to noon. The menu will feature pancakes, Mickey Mouse waffles, sausage, fruit cup, juice and coffee. All children attending will get a coloring book and crayons of pool activities to color. Cost is $6.50 adults and $3.25 for children 5 to 12. Children 3 and under eat free. If you plan to attend with your children please call the rec center 633-0602 or Georgi Riser 635-4527, so that there will be enough books for all the children.
LEE CHAKLOS, co-owner of the Bellaire Toll Bridge, spoke to Benwood City Council Tuesday. He was lobbying to get the performance bond lowered from $500K to $250K, but to no avail. He blames the bond amount on the delay of demolition efforts. We think not. Chaklos has no one to blame but himself for the ongoing razing fiasco.
BETTY KOTSON of the Belmont County Council American Legion Auxiliary would like to thank everybody for their donations, gifts and support for the group's annual trip to the Chillicothe Veterans Hospital earlier this month. Those making the trip entertained some 58 patients with singing and dancing. A light lunch was held. Kotson said the trip was a huge success thanks to all the support from people from as far away as Florida.
THE OHIO Valley Football Coaches' Association is holding its annual spring recruiting night at Generations Restaurant in Wheeling on Thursday, from 6-9 p.m. The cost is $10 per high school staff of 2 with a $5 charge for each additional coach. The cost will be $30 per college staff that attends. It is the ideal ways for prep coaches to help further the collegiate careers of their players. It is an event all local grid coaches should take part in. Any questions, contact Dave Bruney at 740-635-5913 or Mike Young at 304-233-1660/304-312-9125.
AN?OPEN house is being held on Sunday,?May 5 at the new Colerain Fire House. The event runs from 2-4 p.m. The public is invited. All local fire departments have been invited to attend the building dedication on this day. The Colerain Volunteer Fire Co.'s new station is located behind the Hilltop Social Hall. Drinks and hot dogs will be served.
I WAS glad to see a change of heart in Shadyside in regards to pay raises for village officials. The salary hike proposal died a quick death Wednesday after an incisive presentation by resident Gregg Warren. If enacted, the pay hike would have resulted in a $50,000 hit to the Shadyside budget, according to Warren. That is way too costly. Elected officials need to worry more about serving their constituents and less about their stipend.
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org