EAST LIVERPOOL - Purchase of a new unmarked vehicle for the city's officer who works with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was approved Monday by City Council.
With Councilman Tom Cunningham absent, council voted 6-0 to purchase a new vehicle from Grand Ford in the city for $26,573, with a second ordinance approved authorizing a $5,500 contract with First Class Towing to buy and install emergency equipment in the vehicle.
Details on the vehicle were not included in the legislation, and Councilman Ryan Stovall asked that its description not be released since it is used for undercover work by the DEA officer.
The vehicle is being purchased with money seized during drug-related operations performed by the DEA, and Stovall pointed out that, while not all of those operations have been inside the city, the fact that East Liverpool has an officer assigned allows some of the seized money to come their way.
In other legislative action, council approved an ordinance executing a third amendment to a loan agreement between the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the city for improvements to state Route 39.
Ohio Avenue resident Brian Kerr questioned why matching funds for street projects are being deducted from a 5-mill street levy that won't be collected until next year when the city has received more than $400,000 in gas tax and license plate fees.
Kerr said he hopes some of the street levy money goes for neighborhood street repair.
Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell said no secret has been made of the fact that 2 mills of the street levy was earmarked from its inception for matching grant funds, with the remainder earmarked for street repairs, saying he doesn't know where the confusion lies on the issue.
Councilman Ray Perorazio again voiced his concerns about people parking on sidewalks, which is prohibited by city ordinance, and Estell said the issue needs discussed since in some areas Lisbon Street specifically cars are struck if parked on the street and not on the sidewalk.
"If you want to see the ordinance enforced across the board, you must look at a solution for areas where parking is dangerous," Estell insisted.
The matter was referred to the street committee for review.
Estell also said he and Planning Director Bill Cowan have been discussing their dissatisfaction with the condition of city streets after some utility companies have had to excavate, saying stronger legislation may be in order as well as posting of large bonds.
Mayor Jim Swoger reported city officials have recently met with state and federal legislators, bringing them up to speed on on-going economic efforts and said, "Everyone is on board with Better City. Things are going well."
Better City LLC is a Utah consulting firm hired by the city to develop and implement an economic development plan.
Perorazio asked if council is going to be kept apprised of the status as well and was advised they should speak with Councilman Stovall, who has been included in meetings and discussions as council's liaison since he is economic development committee chairman.
Deputy Service-Safety Director Dan Galeoti and water Superintendent Tim Clark were commended by Councilman Scott Barrett for finding and repairing a water leak he had reported on at the last meeting.