Officials discuss possible property purchase

EAST LIVERPOOL — Although no action was taken, city council’s finance committee this week discussed the possibility of purchasing property in the East End of the city for future development.

An ordinance requested from the law director by Service-Safety Director Brian Allen surfaced unexpectedly at the committee’s meeting, with Allen saying he had not planned on discussing the issue that day.

Nonetheless, committee Chairman Bill Hogue broached the subject, and Allen said owner Marvin Lovejoy approached the city about purchasing the property, knowing the city already owns property in that area.

He initially wanted $25,000 for the 15 acres of land on Price Street, but Allen said he countered with a lower offer, and they settled on $17,500.

Among the benefits to the city owning the property would be its “huge potential” for development in relation to the construction of a cracker plant in nearby Monaca, Pa., Allen told the committee on Tuesday.

Having the property would also open up access to the city’s other property for timbering, Allen said, adding the property would also be attractive as a residential development.

The property is located in Liverpool Township and would likely be annexed into the city after purchase, with committee member Ray Perorazio pointing out annexation would not have to take place immediately.

The committee took the matter under advisement, with Auditor Marilyn Bosco indicating funding is available for the purchase.

Also discussed at the meeting was whether or not to earmark the 20 percent of revenue from traffic cam tickets to the street department.

Currently, 80 percent of the revenue goes into the police budget, with the remaining 20 percent going into the general fund. At a recent council meeting, Perorazio said it was his understanding that 20 percent was to have been earmarked for the street department.

Bosco told the committee the money is in the general fund and council can do with it whatever it wants, agreeing the street department is in “desperate need,” with “no money” in its budget right now.

Allen agreed, saying there are times the street department can’t purchase items it needs, such as stone or signs.

Hogue suggested that the revenue could be placed in the street department for the remainder of this year and then council could revisit the matter during budget preparations next year.

No recommendation was forwarded to council.

Allen told the committee he would like to purchase a 2014 John Deere tractor, the first one purchased by the city in decades, for a cost of $42,000, with additional equipment bringing the total to about $70,000.

Hogue said the details will be discussed at the next finance committee meeting on Sept. 26.

The committee forwarded for council’s consideration a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with the auditor of state for auditing city financial records from 2017-18 at a cost of $12,400.

Bosco said this is less costly than hiring an independent auditing firm.