STEUBENVILLE - Going green paid off Tuesday when the American Electric Power Co. presented a $73,429.95 check to city employees during the regular City Council meeting.
AEP Customer Service Representative Jeff Hanselman presented an oversized ceremonial copy of the check to several city employees who worked to replace standard light bulbs with LED bulbs in street lights, traffic signals and crosswalk lights.
"The credit for this savings really goes to Finance Director Alyssa Kerker, who wrote the initial grant application, to Dino DiMarzo of my department for coordinating the project with Maintenance and Repair Superintendent Bob Baird and to Bob DiFonzo, John Wineman and Joe Marracino of the city's electrical department for replacing all of those light bulbs," stated City Engineer Michael Dolak.
INCENTIVE CHECK — Steubenville employees received a $73,429.95 check Tuesday night on behalf of the city from the American Electric Power Co. for the city’s efforts to become more energy efficient. AEP customer service representative Jeff Hanselman, left, presented the check to, from left, City Engineer Michael Dolak; city electricians, Bob DiFonzo, Joe Marracino and John Wineman; Engineering Assistant Dino DiMarzo; and Finance Director Alyssa Kerker during the City Council meeting.
Dolak said the LED replacement project was part of an incentive-driven program expected to be completed in June.
"At that point we will be monitoring our savings by going green and we anticipate saving from $90,000 to $100,000 a year by participating in this program," added Dolak.
In other matters, council approved emergency legislation Tuesday authorizing the city manager to seek loans from the Ohio Water Development Authority for work on the city's wastewater plant and possibly a sewer line project on University Boulevard.
Dolak and Kerker had proposed applying for a $3.4 million loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority for the wastewater treatment plant upgrades project slated for this year.
Dolak said the University Boulevard sewer line project, also scheduled for this year, will cost approximately $1.2 million, "and we may apply for a loan through the OWDA for that work as well."
According to Kerker, "having this loan puts us in better financial shape with our cash reserves. We will be in a better position in case of an emergency."
An emergency ordinance authorizing an emergency contract with Insight Pipe Contracting to proceed with repairs to a 55-by-35-inch brick sewer line beneath the Ohio side entrance to the Market Street bridge was passed by council.
Also, council heard the first reading of an ordinance that will eliminate a police captain position and add a police dispatcher to the department in order to put another officer on patrol.
City Manager Cathy Davison recommended the elimination of the captain's position following Capt. Paul Harbert's resignation from the police department.
"The hiring of a police dispatcher will allow us to put the night turn sergeant back on patrol instead of working the dispatch desk," said Davison.
The table of organization ordinance also eliminates the parks and recreation summer food kitchen staff and summer food program coordinator.
Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall recommended the elimination of those jobs because the recreation board has approved contracting the annual summer food program to Sodexho Food Services.
Council also recognized the Franciscan University of Steubenville rugby team for finishing third in a small college national tournament.
And a resolution recognizing Police Memorial Week in the city was unanimously passed by the council members. A 9 a.m. ceremony is set for Friday at the Historic Fort Steuben flag pole to remember local law enforcement officials who died in the line of duty. The public has been invited to join area law enforcement at the ceremony.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs asked Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi for clarification on who is responsible for vacant lots after the city pays to have a dilapidated building demolished.
"The property owner remains responsible for the site after the demolition. The city does not assume an ownership role following a demolition," answered Petrozzi.
Council also approved the recommendation by Davison to award the 2012 chip and seal project to Strawser Construction of Columbus, which submitted the low bid of $94,956.29.
Davison's recommendation to award the 2012 hot mix resurfacing program bid to Lash Paving of Colerain for a $548,196.80 total proposal also was approved by council members.
Sixth Ward Councilman David Lalich complimented Davison and Kerker for providing council members with detailed monthly financial reports.
Suggs announced she is working with Lalich to present a "You Always Have a Home" T-shirt to each graduating senior at Steubenville High School and Steubenville Catholic Central High School.
Council also heard a request from Sonny Solomon of North Fifth Street who asked for help in stopping inappropriate behavior in his neighborhood.
"I will work with the police department and the Community Development Office and we will make sure this issue is taken care of," responded Davison.
Matt Fabrio asked council to change the age limit for the City Police department entrance examination.
"The Ohio Revised Code states a city council can change the age limit. I took the exam before but the city decided to not hire anyone at that point. I turned 35 in February and under your rules I am now ineligible to take the exam. I am asking you to consider changing the age limit," said Fabrio.
Davison said the city is under a charter form of government and the Civil Service Commission has not recommended changing the age limit.
Council also heard from Keith Michael Estrada, who renewed his plea for city officials to "reject the oil and gas industries' deceit. Reject self-fulfillment and the giving in to those who have the money to have their voices heard. Reject racism and injustices in every level."
During a service committee meeting prior to the regular meeting, council agreed to accept a recommendation from Police Chief Bill McCafferty to limit parking on Bryden Road to the west side of the street in the future.
A letter will be sent to Bryden Road residents explaining the new parking limits.
Council met in executive session for 45 minutes Tuesday to review contract negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police Ohio Labor Council.