Paving planning continues

EAST LIVERPOOL – City Council took steps Monday night to proceed with paving of several downtown streets this year, authorizing a loan to pay the city’s share of the project cost.

By a unanimous vote, council adopted an ordinance to borrow $278,135.85, which is the city’s 20 percent share of the total $1.4 million cost for paving Fifth, Sixth and Walnut streets and Parkway, with repayment anticipated by proceeds of portion of a 5-mill street levy passed by voters.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will pay the largest share of the project at $1,112,543.

The R.T. Vernal Company will be doing the construction work at a cost of $1,285,271, with Jobes Henderson & Associates performing the construction management services at $105,408.

A request by Mayor Jim Swoger to spend $5,594.66 to pave about 400 feet of Drury Lane was also approved by voice vote. The paving will be done with a new type of material as a sort of test to see how it holds up, and Swoger said the work had tentatively been scheduled for May, but he first wanted council’s blessing.

In other street-related matters, Swoger told council that Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell and planning Director Bill Cowan have been measuring the streets that council members have proposed for paving, saying, “We’ll put a cost on each one, not just a name (when the final list is prepared).”

The street committee met prior to the council meeting to discuss a suggestion by Estell to extend business district parking limits toward the area in which the Hot Dog Shoppe is located, at the owner’s request.

President of Council John Torma and Councilman Tom Cunningham, however, voiced concerns that the city had, in the past, agreed to some of the owner’s demands, to the detriment of other businesses that wanted to locate in town.

Cunningham also pointed out the business has its own parking lot, while Councilman Sherrie Curtis noted there are also two municipal parking lots located nearby.

Councilman Ray Perorazio also said the business’ customers cause a “traffic jam” on Market Street while waiting to turn into the drive-through and he questioned why they can’t enter from the other direction, pulling out onto Market when leaving the business.

Estell did not attend the committee meeting, and Chairman Scott Barrett said additional information is needed on exactly what he is proposing.

In other legislative action, council approved an ordinance prohibiting standing, sitting or climbing on any city-owned trees, monuments, fountain and the like and also an ordinance prohibiting begging or soliciting for money, which does not include organizations or churches.

Also approved was an ordinance adopting the downtown urban renewal plan, for which first reading was approved at the last meeting. The plan paves the way for additional funding sources for downtown development.

With a slight change to the wording, an ordinance establishing the wages and benefits of non-union employees was approved, which will change the part-time status of the utilities director position back to full-time, effective June 27.

Utilities Director Robert Disch will retire for the second time on June 26, having retired as the full-time director in 2009 and now retiring as part-time director.

An ordinance authorizing the Walter H. Drane Co. to re-codify the city’s ordinances and place them on the Internet was also approved.

During public comment, Ohio Avenue resident Linda Ziegler referred to proposed landlord ordinances, suggesting several changes she believes should be made to the documents.

Perorazio again made a pitch for a tipping fee to be imposed upon businesses which have truck traffic, saying River Road is “impassable,” and other streets used by trucks are also bad.

“You can’t repair these streets with the money (these businesses) have given us out of their pockets. We’re going to have to get this done,” Perorazio said.