MVSD tries to speed up security improvements

District officials have declined to discuss the measures.
MINERAL RIDGE -- A hearing is set for Friday afternoon before the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District's court of jurisdiction to dispense with bidding for security improvements at the district.
District board members authorized Atty. Charles Richards to file a motion with the court for an order waiving the advertising of contracts requirement to buy security equipment.
It normally takes several weeks to go through the process of advertising for bids and awarding a contract. That can be waived if the situation is deemed an emergency.
"In light of the current situation, systems that deliver public water supply are taking a look at their security systems," Richards said. "The decision has been made to improve and enhance the security system here at the district."
District officials have declined to discuss security measures taken since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. Directors last month met with Walter M. Duzzny, director of Mahoning County Disaster Services and Emergency Management, to talk about security.
FBI request: The FBI last month asked police and sheriff's departments to increase security around public water supplies. The FBI urged law enforcement agencies to perform additional patrols around reservoirs, review emergency response plans and develop a clear chain of command to follow in case of a disaster.
The request came following widespread fears of possible chemical or biological attacks including public water supplies as a possible target.
The MVSD court of jurisdiction is Judge Peter Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court and Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Richards expects to file the motion today and the hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. Friday in Judge Kontos's courtroom.
Cost: An order from the court is needed because the security equipment and installation is estimated at $48,000. Advertising of bids is required for public contracts over $10,000.
The exact amount of the contract for security improvements hasn't been determined.
"Once the board gets the authorization [from the court], it then determines the amount of the contract," Richards said.
The district supplies water from Meander Reservoir to about 300,000 customers in Mahoning and Trumbull counties through member cities Niles and Youngstown.

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