By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The Wood County Commissioners took a look at the big picture for the county this past week during a long-term planning meeting. They talked tax abatements, sewers, and the landfill expansion. And they discussed pipeline corridors, unsafe intersections and jail improvements.
The long-term planning meetings give the commissioners a chance to look ahead and prepare for issues that may pose problems in the future. Such as:
- Tax abatements. The commissioners discussed the benefit of keeping track of businesses that have abatements that are nearing expiration, so county officials can examine the possible effect on the county.
- Septic systems. The cost of putting in a new septic system can cost up to $20,000. The commissioners have heard from local residents who have installed new septic systems, then shortly after find out that a sewer is being constructed past their homes, and they are legally required to tap into the public sewer system. The commissioners talked about being more proactive about letting county residents know where sewer services are being proposed so they don’t invest in new septic systems needlessly.
- Wood County Landfill. The county is within 10 years of filling to capacity the current cell that is licensed at the landfill. The commissioners talked about the need to begin the expansion process. There is open acreage at the site, but permits must be acquired before it can be used.
- Pipeline corridors. Earlier this year, as plans were underway for four pipelines to run different routes through Wood County, the commissioners asked that the pipeline companies consider combining routes so as few landowners were affected as possible. This week, the commissioners discussed the possibility of asking the planning commission to recommend in the county’s land use plan that pipelines be built along roadways.
- Jail improvements. The sheriff has been asking the commissioners to approve renovations to the jail booking area, the holding cells and the medical area. The commissioners plan to meet with the sheriff soon to discuss the project.
- Energy audits. The county has already made changes resulting in significant savings in energy usage in governmental buildings, including new boilers, lights and windows. Next on the list for energy audits are the jail and the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
- Unsafe intersections. The commissioners occasionally get letters from citizens concerned about rural intersections where accidents have occurred. The engineer and sheriff will be asked to communicate with township trustees about places where additional signage might be warranted.
- Relocation of the county highway garage to the county’s East Gypsy Lane Road complex. The garage has been at its location on East Poe Road for approximately 60 years. The location on East Gypsy Lane would make accessing county roads easier.
- The Wood County Economic Development Commission has been asked to offer patent assistance for local inventors. The possibility of a business incubation site may be considered.