Highway ordinance repealed unanimously

EAST LIVERPOOL – An ordinance enacted in 1996, assenting to detachment of state highways from the city, was repealed Monday night by a unanimous vote of City Council.

Despite repeal of the former ordinance, it seemed council may still be interested in visiting the possibility of detaching, or de-annexing, the four-lane state highways, which include state routes 7, 11, 30 and 39.

The issue presented itself in a recent conversation with the Ohio Department of Transportation when discussion turned to maintenance of the highways, grass, trees, and lighting, which currently falls to the city.

Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell has said many of the projects involving the highways could cost upwards of $500,000 each, which the city would find hard to fund.

A former council had approved the detachment with the 1996 legislation, but the move was never made, and current council members Ray Perorazio and Ryan Stovall had asked that the former ordinance be repealed.

Perorazio previously made it clear he was adamantly opposed to detachment of the highways, but on Monday night said he had done some research decided more investigation is needed before a decision is made.

Perorazio said he had spoken to someone at ODOT and was led to believe revenue the money receives for maintenance of state highways comes from the state and that the person he spoke to said “basically we are not trying hard enough.”

However, after speaking with the county auditor’s office, Perorazio said, he learned that the majority of revenue for state highway maintenance comes from local sources, not the state.

“I don’t think the guy who pays $11 on his license plate (toward street maintenance) wants it to take care of state highways. We need to take care of East Liverpool (streets),” Perorazio said.

Estell has said he was attempting to garner more information before council made any decision. He was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting.

In other legislative action Monday, council passed two budget ordinances adjusting appropriations, with Councilman Ryan Stovall opposed to a $30,000 increase for an indigent driver fund for municipal court.

Prior to voting, Stovall asked Law Director Charles Payne if the increase was not mandated by the court, could the money be used for anything else, by Payne said he would have to research that issue before answering.

Deputy Service-Safety Director Dan Galeoti reported some pothole patching has begun with two loads of cold patch and a load of limestone having been received.

He also advised council the newly hired mechanic has started his duties and has already done quite a lot of work in the week he has been on the job.

In other matters, the police department was commended by council members for enforcing laws regarding parking on the sidewalk, particularly in the Harvey Avenue area.