Water line application slowed by city council

STEUBENVILLE – Legislation authorizing an application for a $50,000 grant from from the Ohio Public Works Commission to help defray local costs for the Buena Vista Boulevard water line upgrade project was slowed but not stopped Tuesday night when three City Council members voted no on the measure.

The ordinance was introduced last week on an emergency basis to authorize the acting city manager to proceed with the grant application to be used as part of the city’s $150,000 share of the project to replace private water lines in the neighborhood.

But 6th Ward Councilman David Lalich, 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins and 1st Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto opposed the ordinance citing financial issues in the city’s water fund.

The legislation passed 4-3 and will now receive three separate readings.

The need for water line upgrades in the Lauretta Avenue and St. Charles Drive area of the city also was raised by several residents of that neighborhood who told the council members and city administration they are tired of repeated water line breaks.

Mucci discussed the state of the city’s water infrastructure for nearly 30 minutes and asked the residents “to have patience and understanding.”

“We are trying to put together funding sources from several different organizations. We are not going to forget you. And we will continue to respond in the same manner you have seen to any and all water line breaks,” said Mucci.

In other business Tuesday night, Law Director S. Gary Repella announced he had reviewed a police car video of the pursuit and arrest of a city resident that had been questioned two weeks ago by resident Royal Mayo.

“The mayor and police chief also reviewed the video of the incident and, yes, the patrolman did curse at the subject, but everything that occurred that night was found to be the proper protocol. If the subject had stopped instead when the police officer initially put his lights on instead of leading the chase through the LaBelle and then Pleasant Heights neighborhoods it would have been different,” said Repella.

“The subject was not listening to the police officer. The reason the subject might have been fleeing the police was because of a bench warrant issued for his arrest. Mr. Mayo was provided with a copy of the video and any news media outlet who wants a copy will be provided with one,” added Repella.

“I personally witnessed the incident on Sept. 12 and I never saw anything like it. The police officer threatened to shoot a black man two times. I have a Freedom of Information Act request because I would like to have a copy of the tape and I am asking you as the acting city manager to review the tape,” Mayo told Mucci during the council meeting two weeks ago.

Repella also told council members the city has filed a nuisance complaint against Club 106 located on South Street.

Repella said the city will be asking for the club to shut down.

“We will then make an inventory of the property and hold a public auction,” said Repella.

A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 21 before Common Pleas Court Judge David Henderson.

Council pulled an ordinance adopting overtime and compensation time leave policies for salary employees from the table and passed legislation Tuesday night after a third and final reading.

The ordinance had been tabled two weeks ago pending a review of the ordinance language.

Council also approved emergency legislation authorizing the acting city manager to request a supplemental loan increase for $749,179 for existing, planning and construction agreement for the city wastewater treatment plant.

A first reading was heard for an ordinance authorizing the approval of expenditures without a purchase order over $3,000.

And council approved resolutions proclaiming October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Oct. 16 as National Mammography Day and this week as Fire Prevention Week.

Council also heard a report from City Engineer Michael Dolak who discussed plans to apply for a safety grant for the proposed Lovers Lane and Sunset Boulevard intersection project set for 2016.

“We are looking at expanding the Sunset Boulevard lanes from 11 to 12 feet wide. We are also looking at developing a 350-foot turn lane in the eastbound lane of Sunset. At certain times of the day that intersection fails because of the amount of traffic in that one area. We are looking at easing the flow of traffic in the future and that may mean purchasing some adjoining property,” said Dolak.

In other business, council approved Francesca Carinci to serve on the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission and Sean Creegan to serve on the Building and Engineering Appeals Board.

Council heard from Teresa DiCarlantonio of the Hilltop Community Development Corp. who announced the annual fall litter cleanup in the LaBelle and Pleasant Heights neighborhoods will be held starting at 11 a.m. on Oct. 19.

And Jerry Barilla, president of the Old Fort Steuben Project Inc. board of trustees, told council members he is happy with the current two-year agreement with the city and asked for another two-year agreement.

“The only thing I would ask for is to have the city to cut the hillside between the fort and state Route 7. We have taken over cutting the grass in the park and the Land Office area but our tractor can’t cut on the bank area,” said Barilla.

Mucci said the bank is city property and he would instruct the street department supervisor to have the hillside area grass cut.

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf said the deadline for city manager applications is Friday night.

“At this point we have more than 20 applications. We will meet in executive session at 5 p.m. Monday to start reviewing the applicants and proceed with the hiring of a city manager,” said Metcalf.