PDT Staff Writer
The Scioto County Commissioners have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a three-month extension on the $30 million Minford Area Sanitary Sewer Project.
“Scioto County will not be able to meet the current deadline of July, 31, 2012, for the Minford Area Sanitary Sewer and we are requesting a waiver to the current deadline,” Commissioners wrote in a May 21 letter to the USDA.
In March 2010, the county was awarded a $14,912,000 loan and a $14,507,000 grant from the USDA to complete the project.
The project calls for the installation of 30 miles of sewer mains and a new wastewater treatment plant, among other things.
The proposed project will provide sewage service to 1,327 existing homes along with modest growth capacity for the entire service area.
USDA state director J. Anthony Logan said earlier this year if the project is not under construction or under a contact for construction by July 31 a request could be made to the White House Office of Management & Budget for a waiver.
“The agency will consider making a request for a waiver to OMB with the information you provide. Waivers will be requested sparingly so the reason for delay must be well-documented and show extenuating circumstances,” Logan wrote.
Amy Moore, who lives in the area of the project has said she will not sign an easement for several reasons.
“We plan on contacting the USDA and letting them know how the people of this area feel about this money being wasted on this project. We are going to ask them not to approve an extension,” Moore said. “By filling an extension the commissioners are not listening or are not concerned with what the people of this area want.”
According to the commission’s letter, the county has spent $2,095,811 on the project since funds were awarded.
The letter cites five reasons for the delay dating to May 2010, including changing the site for the wastewater plant and the investigation of 27 sites for possible hazardous, toxic and radioactive waste.
According to the letter, 740 temporary and permanent easements are required from more than 500 owners in the project area. To date, 553 easements have been secured.
“The county is continuing to pursue onsite meeting with its own land agent who is a local retired Realtor. The county will continue with this approach through June and the initiate legal actions on all remaining easements,” the letter reads.
The county will continue to pursue easements through legal action, the letter reads.
“In the remainder of May and June, the county will continue to purse onsite meetings with easement owners. By July 1 these efforts will end and all remaining files will be delivered to the County’s Prosecuting Attorney for court action.By July 16 all property owners will be notified that their property will be acquired by legal action.”
County officials said they hope to put the project out to bid in January 2013 and award a construction contract in March 2013. The project is estimated to be completed in March 2015.
“Scioto County has substantial time and money invested in this project and we are counting on this waiver to the current deadline,” the letter states.
Scioto County Sanitary Engineer Joe Delong cautioned that just because the county makes a request for an extension does not mean it would be granted.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.