Leetonia Council to seek bids for old Sky Bank building

LEETONIA- Village Council will seek bids for the old Sky Bank building and adjoining lots.

Council Wednesday night agreed to advertise for bids for the building and parking lots located at 243 Main Street that village administration had been preparing for possible office space. Council had accepted possession of the building earlier this year, investing approximately $8,000 into renovations, but is now looking at upward of $20,000 for interior cosmetic repairs. Council expressed concern about heating costs, with the gas bill was over $200 last month and the prior occupant paying between $250 and $300 per month.

Councilman JR Ferry expressed an interest in maintaining the building for office space, noting that council had considered the purchase of the former Farmer’s National Bank.

“Why sell this one for $1,000 when $15,000 to $20,000 (for renovations) is still saving money (compared to buying the Farmer’s building),” he said, pointing out that the village still needs the space.

Council reserved the right to reject any and all bids.

In other business Village Administrator Gary Phillips reported that the village has received a 50/50 matching grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for WSOS Community Action Commission for an RCAP Asset Management Planning Project. The village will use $9,900 from the water fund and in-kind labor as needed for the project which will include developing a method for rating the asset condition, prioritizing assets and estimating future replacement costs; conducting an operational review to identify performance bench marks and best management practices; and preparing a written report that will include a summary of inventory, forecast of how much money may be saved through an asset management program and recommendations for implementing an asset management program.

The contract with WSOS will continue through June 30, 2014.

Also at the meeting council approved the first reading of an ordinance that cancels the village provided health care insurance for employees effective Dec. 31 and uses the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) instead.

Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz reported that county funded demolitions of five village structures should start within the next two weeks.

A Fairfield Township resident asked what action the village will take regarding a lawsuit filed by a property owner against Chesepeake concerning a gas lease dispute that includes several residents in addition to the village as co-defendants.

Village Solicitor Walter Newton said that he has only given the suit a cursory reading so far and expects to delve deeper into it soon, at which point he will offer an opinion to council. He said he can only offer an opinion to council, in the best interest of the village. He did note that if successful, the lawsuit could pose a potentially adverse impact on the defendants, whether by delaying drilling or redistributing royalties.

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Village Hall.