Mingo talks transfer of funds

MINGO JUNCTION – Village Council Tuesday heard updates about a court application to transfer $362,999 out of the community complex fund into the general fund and from residents complaining about dust and noise coming from the FeX facility on south Commercial Street.

Village Solicitor Ernest Wilson said he filed paperwork in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday to transfer the $362,999 out of the complex fund into the general fund.

The case was assigned to Common Pleas Judge David Henderson, and a hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 13.

Money for the community complex comes from a percentage of the village’s income tax. Council determined the community complex fund is no longer necessary, and all projects slated to be made to Aracoma Park have been finished.

Council in February approved the ordinance authorizing Wilson to make the application in court. Council also discussed only using the money for emergency purposes.

Village resident Francis DiLoreto addressed council on complaints about the FeX facility on South Commercial Avenue. DiLoreto said the iron processing plant has “destroyed a good residential neighborhood” with noise and dust coming from trucks entering and leaving the business. He said three families have already moved out of the area because of the complaints.

Wilson said the first step is for council is to contact the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the dust complaints.

One resident said the dust is causing breathing problems with neighbors of the plant.

“The best thing we can do is shut them down,” DiLoreto said.

Councilman John Bracone said he fully agreed with the residents complaining.

He said the company had promised to install asphalt on the road leading from the plant to south Commercial Street last year but hasn’t kept its promises. Councilman James Morrocco said he met with FeX representatives last year, who promised to address the village’s concerns.

“It is a disgrace,” Bracone said.

Councilman Michael Herrick suggested FeX representatives be called to a council meeting to address the complaints.

Resident Terry Zane said there is a road to the plant farther south of the residential area that gives the trucks access to state Route 7.

Compounding the problem is a sand facility used in the fracking of oil and gas wells that is putting additional truck traffic on Commercial Street.

Council also heard from Frank Bovina, president of the Mingo Business Association, about council and the village honoring village native Rob Parissi, who formed the band Wild Cherry and had the No. 1 hit “Play That Funky Music” in 1976.

Bovina said the business association wants to honor Parissi, who now lives in Florida, at its annual block party scheduled for Aug. 9-10. He also asked council to make an honorary designation for McLister Avenue as Rob Parissi Boulevard.

Council agreed to bring in a resolution honoring the musical achievements of Parissi, who was a 1968 graduate of Mingo High School.

Council also approved by a vote of 4-1 a resolution for the village to apply for funding for the Lincoln Avenue wastewater/storm water separation project as mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Kevin Wilmot of CT Consultants, the village’s engineering firm, said the village is under an Ohio EPA mandate to separate wastewater and storm water into different pipes.

He said the combined system now can lead to an overflow issue at the wastewater treatment plant and untreated sewage being dumped into the river.

He said the loan will cover a 20-year period. The estimated cost is $2.5 million.

Wilmot said the cost could increase water and sewage bills from $5 to $7 a month for residents.

Councilman John Bracone cast the only “no” vote, saying the village should have asked the Ohio EPA for permission to hold off on the project until the water plant is paid off in 14 years. Council agreed to refinance the water plant bond payments an additional five years at a cost of $1.5 million.

He said the Lincoln Avenue project alone will cost residents upward of $7 more a month, and there are five more sewer separations the Ohio EPA is mandating in the village.

“We are killing the residents on their (water and sewer bills),” he said.

Council also heard from interim Village Administrator Howard Armstrong about a company that did a leak detection on the village’s water lines. The village is losing 84 million gallons of water a quarter and the company found nine leaks accounting for about 9 million gallons of water a quarter.

“It is a start,” Armstrong said about finding leaks.

The village is losing about $90,450 a year in treated water costs with the nine leaks, he said. He said the village faces limited resources in fixing the leaks and there is no cost estimate.

“It is logical to save $90,000 a year, but we don’t know how much it will cost to fix (the leaks),” he said.

Council took no action on authorizing Armstrong to get the leaks fixed.

Council was informed by Fire Chief John Wright he obtained a $70,440 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for new air packs for firefighters. The village will have to pay $3,572 as part of the grant.

Wright last year received an $82,000 FEMA grant for new turn-out gear for firefighters.

Council also approved bringing in an ordinance to increase the cost of building permits. The old ordinance is 50 years old, Armstrong said.