Friday, April 13, 2012

Riley Petroleum stays in Jefferson County

STEUBENVILLE - Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday agreed to transfer 5 acres of land at the county's industrial park that will become the new headquarters and warehouse of Riley Petroleum that will keep 20 jobs in the county and allow for future expansion.

Ed Looman, Project Alliance executive director, said he has been working with John Riley, owner of Riley Petroleum, for about a year to secure state funding that will assist in the construction of the new facility.

The commissioners will transfer the property to the Community Improvement Corp., which in turn will gift the land to Riley. Looman said the gift of the land is part of the county's effort to keep Riley's operation in Ohio and Jefferson County. He said West Virginia was courting Riley to locate in Weirton.

Looman said the Ohio Department of Development will provide $360,000 in a loan and a $120,000 grant.

Riley said he will construct a 12,000-square-foot warehouse and a 4,000-square-foot office that will be the headquarters for the company. He said there are about 120 employees in the retail part of his company and about 20 workers at the headquarters.

"I'm glad to be able to keep the operations in Jefferson County, and I look to grow," Riley said.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham thanked Riley for staying in Jefferson County. "I know he had many options."

In other matters, commissioners again discussed an energy-efficiency project for county buildings with Johnson Controls.

The county contracted with Johnson Controls for the program that will use state money to help pay for the cost of installing equipment to make county buildings more energy efficient.

Commissioners had believed the cost of the program would be paid for with the savings of energy costs over a period. But the commissioners are now looking at spending $55,000 a year for 17 years to pay for the cost.

The figure was much higher because of the need for electrical upgrades at the courthouse not covered by the state program. The electrical upgrades are needed for the installation of heat pumps that will heat the courthouse when the outside temperature is above 30 degrees, said county Commissioner Tom Gentile. The boiler will assist the heating of the building in colder weather.

Commissioners said they may use capital improvement money to make the electrical upgrades at the courthouse.

County Commissioner Dave Maple said the process with Johnson Controls has been "cumbersome and awkward."

Graham said the commissioners are not prepared to act on Johnson Controls' agreement. "It is a maybe at this point. It is a lot of money and we have to give it careful thought."

Commissioners may have to act by April 30 when costs of equipment are expected to increase.

Commissioners received a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration approving the use of two new hangars at the county airport for nonaviation purposes because the aprons outside the hangars haven't been paved. But Mike Menzel, county regional airport authority, said a plane has paid rent in one of the new hangars. He said a new company has a plane capable of hauling 2,000 pounds of cargo or passengers. Menzel said the plane doesn't need a paved apron to access the runway.

"That's great news," Maple said.

Graham said the development of the airport has taken a long time. "It has come a long way," he said.

Commissioners also were informed by Shannan Gosbin, county water and sewer department director, and Thomas Hartwig of Malcolm Pirnie, the county's engineering consultant, of a $25,000 to $50,000 reduction on the $2.3 million Pottery Addition sewer project. Hartwig said Rudzik Excavating will dig a shorter sewer line in one area of the project through the backyards of homes instead of on the street, which will save money.

County Engineer James Branagan said the mild winter has resulted in some savings to his department. He said the county was forced to purchase a minimum amount of salt through a state-purchasing program. He said the department spent about $15,000 in overtime because the snow events that did occur happened on the weekends.

The county may commit to purchasing less salt through the state next year, resulting in a savings then.

Commissioners opened two bids for the paving of an access road in the rear of the two new hangars at the county airport.

The estimate was $98,537.

Lash Paving submitted the apparent low bid of $79,539.

Commissioners also opened bids for mowing service for the engineer department. The estimate was $30,000. Quick Mow Inc. of Millersburg submitted the apparent low bid of $28,641. Branagan said the agreement calls for three cuttings during the summer along county roads.

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