County receives $200,000 to extend Greene River Trail

This photo along the Greene River Trail was taken by Commissioner Blair Zimmerman while jogging on the trail near Rices Landing Borough. Zimmerman said he was on the trail when he received word the county had been awarded a state grant to extend the trail by 2.2 miles.

Last year the county reorganized office spaces for various departments, had the best finances to date, completed a multi-year project and started multiple others.

The county's probation office relocated to the Fort Jackson building. The county is in the process of moving both Children and Youth Services and Human Services to larger offices, said Blair Zimmerman, chair of county commissioners. Also the county made positive changes to its museum by establishing a new board and hiring a new director.

Archie Trader, commissioner, said whenever the county is under budget it sets aside remaining funds for whenever it is over its annual budget. In doing so, the county had no budget deficits last year.

“(This is) the best financial shape the county has ever been in,” Zimmerman said. He said the county hasn’t raised property taxes in over a decade.

Trader noted the county granted $50,000 to each school district so the institutions could improve security measures.

Jeff Marshall, chief clerk, said the Greene County Planning Commission, with help from an advisory board of residents, completed the County Comprehensive Plan and is currently waiting on approval.

The plan, which is rewritten every 20 years, “reflect(s) the desire to maintain the County’s green and rural landscape, while planning for sustainable economic development and meeting new infrastructure and growth demands,” the county’s website states.

Regarding the opioid epidemic, the county established its task force in late 2017/early 2018, Marshall said. The task force, comprised of residents and professionals from various fields, works with the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy’s Program Evaluation and Research Unit. It hosts monthly meetings to discuss combating drug use in Greene County.

Other achievements from last year include $603,000 in grant funding for the Wisecarver Reservoir conversion and the Greene River Trail expansion project in October. Also, the county completed the airport business park in October and began construction on West Virginia University medical clinic near Walmart in Waynesburg in May. The clinic is set to be completed this summer.

Jeff Marshall, said multiple Act 13 dollars went to sewage and water projects across the county in 2018, and the commissioners discussed grant opportunities for a broadband internet plan.

“I’m lucky to work with a group of commissioners focused on the same goal: to make Greene County better,” Zimmerman said.

The Greene County Messenger also reached out to the six county boroughs for updates. Clarksville and Greensboro couldn't be reached for comment. The findings are as follows:

Carmichaels

For David Antonini, councilmen for the Carmichaels Borough, last year was “pretty quiet.” There were, however, projects being done in Carmichaels, and some that are still on going.

One project in particular that Antonini highlighted was a streetlight fund. The streetlight fund account can only be paid or be used to pay the streetlight bill to the borough’s electric provider, Antonini said.He said the fund is “an assessment to the residents of the borough of Carmichaels.”

“The properties are assessed according to the front of their properties that has a streetlight,” he said. “[If] the streetlights are within 250 feet of their property… the bills are sent out to the property owners, and again their assessment of a particular fee."

From a financial standpoint, this past year, “wasn’t too bad,” according to Antonini.

“We all were very solvent,” he said. “The bills were paid up, and we had an operating fund that carried over into this year. We’ve also instructed our engineering program to do a weight limit study of the borough so we can establish a weight limit.”

The program is also currently putting a package together to assist in paving on certain roads in Carmichaels, Antonini said.

“Late last year, we formed a committee that we are working on a zoning ordinance for the borough of Carmichaels,” he said. “It’s in a rough draft now, but it will probably be a final draft in the next two-three months. Then we’ll be presenting it for public inspection and things like that before it goes into effect.”

Jefferson

The past year proved rather uneventful for Jefferson Borough where council president, Theresa Knight reported no new grants were received and no new businesses came on board, although, Knight said, the borough didn't lose any businesses either.

Rices Landing

Rices Landing Borough had an eventful 2018 with the completion of the dredging project for the boat launch on the Monongahela River. The launch area is set to open in April, although no exact date has yet been decided.

Lori Durr, borough secretary/treasurer said that improvements have been made to the historic W. A. Young and Sons Foundry and Machine Shop. George Blystone, volunteer for 20 years at the foundry, said that improvements included the installation of new siding and flashing, work that was completed on April 6, 2018 in time for last year's Hammer-In.

Durr also reported that last year's Riverfest, the first weekend in June, proved very successful as did the 2nd annual Light Up Night, on Dec. 2. The event included the arrival of Santa by fire truck, an appearance by the Jefferson-Morgan marching band and gifts handed out to children in attendance.

Waynesburg

In Waynesburg Michael Simms, borough manager, reports that the borough received a block grant for the televising (where cameras run through the line to spot cracks, blockages and tree roots) and cleaning of the main interceptor sewage line. The borough is also looking forward to two sewer line projects coming in 2019.

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