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City plans townhall meeting

Sale of marina being considered

December 13, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - City officials are planning a townhall meeting for January or February to discuss financial issues facing the community and are considering the lease or sale of 9 acres of city marina property for future development.

"The marina area north of the boat launch area has long been under used. There is interest in river front property and Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman showed the property to an interested developer already and there may be more parties interested in looking at the site," City Manager Cathy Davison said Wednesday night during a special parks and recreation board meeting.

"If the property is sold, my recommendation would be to put the proceeds from the sale into the recreation operating fund," said Davison.

"The site has everything a developer would look for with access to river, rail and highways," she added.

"If we can do something with the marina the money has to be used for the operations of the recreation department. I am committed to planning for the future," Councilman at large Kenny Davis said.

City leaders have been working to balance the 2012 budget by Dec. 31 and have said the city is facing a projected general fund deficit in 2013.

Davis also discussed a tentative townhall meeting plan during the recreation board meeting Wednesday.

"We want to have a citywide meeting after the first of the year to discuss our strategies as we face a projected budget deficit in 2013. The citizens have to know we are researching every way possible to deal with these issues," Davis said.

"Cathy has given us a report on peer cities on their staffing levels and how they operate. We want to get ideas from other communities. We want to educate people on what we are up against. This will help residents understand why we are doing what we have to do," Davis explained.

"The townhall meeting will be a two-fold meeting. One, we will discuss plans for the future of the city. We will details what financial issues we are facing and how we hope to deal with those issues. Second, we will discuss the health care program we have for city employees," said Davison.

"We have a labor management health care committee that includes representatives from the three city unions and two city administration officials. We met last month and I asked for the unions to agree to a $50 increase in their share of the health care and we would drop the deductibles, but the three unions would not agree. We probably have the best health care plan in the valley. But we need to make some changes because of our financial issues," stated Davison.

She said the city still is determining where to hold the townhall meeting.

"I want to see as many people there as possible. This will be an education process for all city residents," Davis said.

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