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Commission to borrow $3M at under 2 percent interest

The $3 million needed to fund partially repair work of the county’s infrastructure, damaged from the spring and summer deluge, will cost the county 1.88 percent in interest.

That was the lowest rate any local bank offered for the loan. The county commissioners at their Thursday meeting approved the terms set out by WesBanco. The loan is to be repaid in two years.

Massive rainfalls washed out bridges and caused landslides across the county. There were almost 600 sites in the county the engineer’s office sought FEMA money for in order to make permanent repairs.

The damage tally was at 102 landslides, 119 bridges washed out and 249 bridges with debris underneath that must be removed to prevent additional decay of the structures.

The overall estimate for all repairs is approximately $16 million, of which Federal Emergency Management Agency funds will pay for up to 75 percent. And on small projects the county can get funding as soon as those are completed. Of the remaining approximately $3 million, the state will pick up half of that.

However none of those state funds will come into the county until all the projects are completed, which County Engineer Doug Cade estimates could take more than 18 months. That means the county engineer’s office will initially have to take out a loan for the 25 percent difference.

After the state and federal reimbursements come in, the county’s engineer’s portion will come from the Motor Vehicle Gas Tax Budget.

Commissioners honored long-time Ironton attorney and former county prosecutor Harold Spears, declaring Nov. 4 “Harold Spears Day.” Next month the Ohio Bar Association will honor Spears with its Honorary Life Fellowship Award.

“I feel a tad as if I’ve encroached on others who deserve the same,” Spears told the commissioners. “My accomplishment as county prosecutor was dependent on the assistance of the sheriff’s department. If it had not been for the fact they agreed on my point of view on law enforcement and worked day and night we would not have been able to.”

In other action the commissioners:

• Approved an application for funding from Ironton-based Swift Manufacturing to receive tobacco grant money to expand its machine operation;

• Approved a request from Presiding Judge Charles Cooper to split the cost for outdoor security cameras. Total costs will be $1,381;

• Received the dog warden’s report where 21 dogs were destroyed; two were sold and none were redeemed. There were 70 dogs in custody.