At a Thursday meeting, the Washington County commissioners were asked by the city of Marietta to provide feedback about a request to fund a portion of the annual operation and maintenance costs for a pair of high-tech river gauges.
The gauges are scheduled to be installed on the Ohio River near Sardis and the Muskingum River in Beverly within the next couple of months.
A conceptual proposal presented to the commissioners by Marietta city engineer Joe Tucker outlined the "development of components for a flood-warning system and flood-inundation mapping for the city of Marietta and selected communities along the lower Muskingum River."
The $540,000 project is being jointly funded by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District ($400,000) and the U.S. Geological Survey ($100,000), he noted.
Once completed, the project would allow area officials to give residents and business owners an earlier warning about impending floods. Warnings and updates could be provided online or with a reverse 911 lookup process.
"It's critical to have a very quick response in getting out information that's clear and understandable to all the public," said Tucker. "I want to get that information out in seconds."
Operation and maintenance costs would be jointly shared by the city, USGS, MWCD, Corps of Engineers and Washington County-if commissioners agree to participate.
All three commissioners agreed that they didn't see any reason not to work with the city of Marietta in this cost-sharing effort.
"It's about warning, about saving lives and personal belongings," said Washington County Commissioner Cora Marshall.
In other business:
Washington County Commissioners approved a grant application for $43,075 for the Ohio Department of Transportation's Urban Transit Program for 2013.
For 2012, Washington County received an $88,000 grant through the Urban Transit Program, said Dawn Rauch, director of planning and development for Washington-Morgan Community Action.
Washington-Morgan Community Action is contracted by the commissioners to operate bus services within the county.
Despite impending cuts in funding, Rauch said the organization is "not anticipating any impact to the urban transit system as it currently is. For 2013, we're providing the same (bus) service we're providing now."
Washington County's urban transit system operates City A and City C routes, and two county routes as well para transit services for individuals with mobility impairments.
The City B route was taken out of service in 2011 due to funding cuts, Rauch said.
Seven people within Washington County have returned the required forms to participate in the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition grant program, according to Rauch.
The Moving Ohio Forward Demolition grant program was created in 2012 to remove blighted or abandoned residential structures. A total of $75 million was allocated among all Ohio counties for the program.
"The overall (goal) is to boost the aesthetic impact of our communities and remove health and safety issues that these blighted properties cause," said Rauch.
Washington County received a $153,742 grant agreement for the program in August, and then began contacting owners to see who was willing to participate in the voluntary program, said Rauch.
Between 14 and 15 homes in Washington County can be demolished under the grant program, she added.
"We are still taking additional properties," Rauch said. Residents can contact 373-3745 to place potential properties on the list for demolition.