MARIETTA - At their Thursday meeting, Washington County commissioners gave authorization for the demolition of five houses in Washington County.
Four of the demolitions will be paid for with a portion of the $153,742 grant signed by the state of Ohio on Aug. 14.
The grant is part of the Moving Ohio Forward Demolition grant program offered through the Ohio Attorney General's office.
According to Dawn Rauch, director of planning and development for Washington-Morgan Community Action, the houses are at 115 Fifth St., Beverly; 606 Ferry St., Beverly; 610 Elm St., Belpre; and on Germantown Road in Lower Salem.
"I have asked the mayor of Belpre to give me some more properties (to be considered for demolition)," said Rauch.
Demolition work done under the grant must be completed in December.
"We'll be going until we run out of money," Rauch said.
A decision on the demolition of three Marietta houses remains pending, she said.
Approximately 15 houses can be torn down using the grant money in Washington County.
Commissioners also gave approval to demolish a fifth house, at 603 Warrior Drive, Barlow, as part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, aimed at removing blighted properties from the county.
"We have enough (remaining) money to do one property," said Rauch. "It has to be done by Dec. 31, 2013."
In other business:
* Washington County commissioners have started 2013 departmental budget hearings that will continue through mid-December.
"We have only met with five departments," said Paul Cunningham, Washington County administrator, on Thursday.
Those meetings were held Wednesday with the following county departments: engineer, Children Services board, Washington County Home, Behavioral Health board and coroner.
Final departmental budgets for Washington County must be determined by Dec. 31, Cunningham said.
* The commissioners approved a thank you letter that will be sent to Ruby Hall of Cutler, in recognition of her many years of dedicated service to the senior citizens of Washington County and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program at the O'Neill Center.
"During the past 32 years you have served on the advisory council for RSVP, you've cooked meals for our seniors, you've baked tons of cookies, you've made so many beautiful quilts, and you've provided 17,234 hours of service!" the commissioners wrote.
"She is the definition of a volunteer," said Washington County Commissioner Cora Marshall.
"She has given it her all," she added.
Commissioner Tim Irvine agreed.
"Anytime that she was asked to do something, she always did it, whether it was baking cookies, scheduling a meeting or calling someone," he said.