COG panel hears pitches for road and sewer funds

The final recommendations for funding will be made at a meeting Feb. 11.
AUSTINTOWN -- Abe Pricker hasn't heard of any major accidents on Pine Lake Road in Goshen Township, and he wants to keep it that way.
On Friday, Pricker, a Goshen Township trustee, talked with the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments' District 6 Public Works Integrating Committee about a project he thinks will help keep the road safe. He was one of several officials from Mahoning County who attended the meeting to pitch road and sewer projects which they feel should receive state funding this year.
Pricker and other Goshen Township officials are seeking a $21,298 state grant to help remove a small hill in Pine Lake Road that reduces visibility. The cost of the project is expected to be $30,867.
"This is definitely a safety issue," Pricker said. After noting that he hasn't heard of any major accidents on the road, he said, "I'm a firm believer in shutting the barn door before the horse gets out."
The integrating committee is responsible for making funding recommendations to the Ohio Public Works Commission, slated to provide about $7.4 million for projects in Mahoning and Trumbull counties this year. The state money includes $878,600 that will be available through zero-interest loans. The rest of the money is awarded in grants.
Officials in the counties have applied for a total of $16.8 million in state money this year to help pay for 72 projects that will cost a total of $26.5 million.
Point system: The integrating committee members use a point system to determine what recommendations they will make to the state. Points have already been awarded for the condition of the road or sewer the project would improve, as well as the income of the community and the amount of local and federal funding for the projects.
Projects that receive the most points are given the highest recommendation from the committee.
On Friday, the committee determined how many points road and sewer projects in Mahoning County should receive for alleviating hazards or responding to transportation needs in a community. In addition, the committee awarded points to sewer projects based on the number of homes each project served and the degree to which the project will improve the health of the surrounding community.
Points were awarded on a scale of 1 to 10. The meeting was held at the Eastgate offices in Austintown.
The Pine Lake Road project received five points for alleviating a traffic hazard. It now has a total of 66 points, making it the fifth-highest ranked project in the two counties. The top-ranked Mahoning County project is Sebring's 15th Street/Ohio Avenue upgrade.
The top-ranked project in both counties is the Shannon Road sewer grant in Trumbull County.
A meeting was held Wednesday to award points to Trumbull County projects.
Each project still can receive up to 30 points for "other factors of regional importance." Those points will be awarded at a meeting Feb. 11.
The final recommendations also will be made at that meeting, which will be held at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
Only one other Mahoning County project ranked in the top 10 for points: Mahoning County's Canfield/Boardman townships water improvement project, which received a total of 20 points for the number of homes it serves and the degree to which it will improve the health of the surrounding community. The project has a total of 69 points and ranks third in both counties.

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