Leetonia council OKs funds to patch roads

LEETONIA- The road department will begin fixing pot holes as soon as possible, but required an appropriation to do so.

Village Council Wednesday night approved a $10,000 appropriation from the income tax fund so that the road department can begin filling pot holes. The extra money will also pay for crack sealing on the roadways.

According to Fiscal Officer Randy Chismar, the chip and seal program this year depleted the road department’s budget, requiring a little extra help for the pot hole patching and crack sealing. Village Administrator Gary Phillips explained that the roadways are chip and sealed prior to patching because the emulsion would soak into the patching and the gravel would just roll off.

Phillips reported that Chestnut Street Extension has been chip and sealed and the department has been waiting for the money to begin patching.

In other business, council further discussed a vacant home ordinance proposed by Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz in June that would establish a program for identifying and registering vacant residential and commercial buildings in order to determine the responsibilities of owners of vacant buildings and structures to comply with zoning codes and speed the rehabilitation of the vacant building. Council encouraged Rydarowicz to again discuss the ordinance with Village Solicitor Walter Newton and then return to council with the proposal.

Councilwoman Shana Prince continued to voice her opposition to the proposed ordinance, explaining that she believes there are ordinances already in place to battle the issue and that the proposed ordinance does not move the village any closer to the ultimate goal of cleaning up the properties.

Rydarowicz responded that the ordinance includes an incremental fee scale that should encourage action in the property owners and that the ordinance gives him “more teeth” in battling the violators.

Also at the meeting council approved the purchase of a new shed for the police department’s firing range for $3,063 from Pinewood Structures of Columbiana.

Council also approved as an emergency the third and final readings of ordinances issuing approximate 5 percent raises for all employees on the police, hourly and salary payrolls, as well as the base rates for the positions, effective at the beginning of the next pay; and approved as an emergency the second reading of a resolution for the sale of the former Tony’s Pizzeria building on Walnut Street to village resident Ronald Stouffer for $3,000, the bid of which council accepted in June.

Additionally council approved an agreement with the Ohio Public Works Committee (OPWC) for a grit chamber replacement at the wastewater treatment plant which filters debris and build-up from the water at the plant. The village will be responsible for $27,225 of the estimated $247,225 project, with a $66,076 loan at 0 percent. Phillips said the loan was necessary to qualify for the grant, noting that if the village had not received the grant the EPA would have still required the grit chamber to be replaced.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 21 at Village Hall, preceded by a Streets Committee meeting at 6 p.m.