Council readies tax budget

STEUBENVILLE – City Council will start dissecting the first draft of the 2014 tax budget at a finance committee meeting Tuesday.

Joining the council members will be the two council members-elect, Mayor and Acting City Manager Domenick Mucci and Finance Director Alyssa Kerker.

“This is the tax budget we forward to the state and the county. I am asking the council to introduce the tax budget at the July 23 sunshine meeting and then approve the tax budget at the July 30 meeting on an emergency basis. We will start working soon on the permanent budget that will be presented to council for formal adoption by the end of December,” explained Kerker.

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf asked for the Tuesday meeting for a review of the tax budget after 5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul questioned the short time frame for passage of the legislation.

During the regular meeting Tuesday night, council approved an ordinance authorizing the acting city manager to amend the wastewater improvement project to include additional work.

Council also agreed to legislation to authorize the payment of bills greater than $3,000 without a purchase order.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Perkins questioned City Engineer Michael Dolak about the temporary street patching where a subcontractor for Columbia Gas is replacing natural gas lines.

“The supposed repairs by Columbia Gas make it about impossible to drive on Market Street and Adams Street. I hope something is done soon,” remarked Perkins.

“Columbia Gas held four public meetings about two months ago and announced $5 million in improving the natural gas lines from low pressure to moderate pressure. What you see now is a temporary fix. After the new pipes are installed and pressurized a permanent fix will be installed. I will talk to Columbia Gas and ask them to speed up the process. Sometimes we have to be a little patient. This is a big capital improvement project,” responded Dolak.

Perkins also received verbal support from 6th Ward Councilman-elect Robert Villamagna, who said he witnessed a worker dumping asphalt into a void and walking away.

Mucci called upon any citizen interested in serving on the charter review commission to contact his office.

Council approved legislation on March 26 by a 5-2 vote to create the nine-member commission to review the city charter.

The legislation establishing the charter review commission states the nine-member panel cannot include current city employees, elected officials or city board or commission members and persons doing business with the city.

Council’s utility committee will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday to continue discussing water meter upgrades.

The finance committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday with representatives from the Steubenville Visitors Bureau to discuss the city’s motel-hotel tax. The committee will begin a review of the 2014 tax budget at the 7 p.m. meeting.