Belmont County Engineer discusses possible funding for road repairs

Community

Drivers in Belmont County have been dealing with road closures and sips for months and county officials have been working to find money for repairs. 

Belmont County Commission recently voted to increase the license plate fees, which will bring in an extra $800,000 each year to help with fixing roads and bridges, but the county won’t see that money until January of 2019. 

In the meantime there are slips and other road damage that needs repaired. 

County Engineer Terry Lively told 7News FEMA and federal highways are involved to fix the road problems caused by February’s flooding, but he doesn’t know how many repairs they’ll be able to help with just yet because they’re just beginning the process. 

In the past when those organizations are involved, county engineers have to come up with what’s called a local match. 

Lively said the FEMA match is 12.5 percent and federal highways is 20 percent, which equals around $1.5 million in local match for Belmont County based on preliminary numbers. 

Since the county’s budget is $5 million that could put a strain on finances for years. 

 “There’s been some thought and some effort put into asking the governor to help out with the local match for the local communities here,” Lively explained. “We’re hoping that that goes though, but if it doesn’t, about the only alternative I have is to try and borrow the money to cover the local match.” 

Lively said Belmont County would then use the license plate fees to pay off that loan in 2019. 

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