WARREN, Ohio - The Innovative thinking by Trumbull County officials could help residents with the cost of up-grading sewer and septic systems.
County commissioners are in discussions with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on a revolving loan program that would be the first of its kind in the state.
At a meeting chaired by State Representative Sean O'Brien, county leaders learned how Trumbull County could become the first area in the state to engage in a new method of funding from the Ohio EPA.
"Making a direct loan to the county to seed a program so that the county could in turn use that money to make loans to homeowners for home sewage treatment systems," said Jerry Rouch with the Ohio EPA.
There would be no income threshold for the loan, meaning it would be available to all county residents. It would give the county its own revolving loan program.
"So they could loan that money out once. It gets repaid back into the fund, they could loan it out multiple times," Rouch said.
State Representative Sean O'Brien sees it as a viable option to assist homeowners who are faced with costly upgrades.
"With the house values the way they are and people can't get the loans that they need and the banks being as frugal as they are, it's very difficult to get those upgrades," O'Brien said.
O'Brien also sees an advantage by having the county put a number of projects up for competitive bid. "With the county monitoring the program and putting it out to bid, we'll get a much better competitive price," O'Brien said.
The EPA has identified several areas in the county where system upgrades are needed to meet health and environmental standards and the county is looking for ways to help ease the financial burden on homeowners.