Restructuring sought to make service quicker
The health department has pressed septic system owners to fix problems.
By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Aggressive actions taken by the Trumbull County Board of Health to clean up unsanitary, unsewered areas are taking their toll on the Sanitary Engineer's Department.
Sanitary Engineer Gary Newbrough told county commissioners Wednesday he would like to restructure his department and hire two additional engineers, to better handle the workload associated with the need for more sewers.
The department employs seven engineers among its 64 employees. The two new hires would be paid $37,405 to start, he said.
The reorganization would take effect Monday.
Commissioner Dan Polivka said the the two hirings and reorganization "make sense." Commissioners are expected to approve the changes at their regular meeting today.
"We have a huge challenge ahead of us," Newbrough said of the approximately $30 million worth of sewer and water projects the department is overseeing.
What's behind this
Newbrough said the number of sewer line extensions the department handled in 2003 was 22, compared with 26 in 2004 and 32 in 2005 and the start of 2006.
He said it sometimes takes a couple years between the time when residents petition for a sewer line and the date of the public hearing. At a public hearing, the cost to each homeowner is presented and the department can determine whether enough residents support the project for it to be built.
Newbrough, who has been sanitary engineer two years, said county residents deserve faster service.
At a hearing held in Liberty last month to discuss the need for septic upgrades or a sewer line in the Topper Hill area, county Health Department officials said too much time had passed between the time the septic system problem surfaced and when residents signed a petition asking the sanitary engineer's office for a sewer system.
Frank Migliozzi, the health department's director of environmental health, told the Topper Hill residents and Newbrough they would have one year to formally agree to sewers or the health department would insist on expensive septic upgrades.
The health department also recently gave residents of the Lakeshore neighborhood in Bazetta Township a similar ultimatum.
The county has 20,762 accounts for sewer and/or water service, Newbrough said, and he believes within 10 years that number could rise to 25,000. The additional revenue from those customers justifies the additional cost of the employees, he said.
Newbrough said the reorganization would not give current employees immediate pay raises, though pay increases would be a possibility later.
The reorganization would give more responsibilities to Art Bain, who would become wastewater treatment plant superintendent, and Bill Durst, who would become wastewater collection superintendent. It would change job titles for Jay Walton to chief project engineer and Scott Verner to chief design engineer.
Newbrough said he hopes to have all of the 15 projects currently on the books completed by 2008, though the $8 million Little Squaw Creek project to extend sewer lines from Kline's Market in Liberty north to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna could take longer than that.