Yearly budget, legislations, ordinances approved by council

EAST LIVERPOOL — Among several pieces of legislation approved Monday night by city council was the 2018 budget which Auditor Marilyn Bosco said is “conservative.”

The $16.5 million budget includes a general fund of $4.3 million and Bosco had said previously it reflects an increase in employee health insurance costs.

Among anticipated receipts included in the budget for 2018 is traffic cam revenue of $480,000 for the police department and $120,000 for the general fund.

Council passed the budget ordinance without comment.

Also passed was an ordinance for an agreement with Dallis Dawson & Associates for engineering and design services for replacement of highway lighting along U.S. Route 30/state Route 39 and repairs to the pipe bridge.

The cost of the engineering contract is $173,250, to be paid with Ohio Department of Transportation funding.

Council also passed an ordinance authorizing bidding and a contract for paving of Smith Street, which will be paid with proceeds from a State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan the city already has in hand.

Bids were obtained last year for Smith Street but all came back too high, possibly due to the lateness of the bidding process, officials have said.

An ordinance creating a new animal welfare grant fund also received council’s approval.

Recommended by Bosco, the fund will allow her and other animal advocates to apply for grants and accept donations to be used for a spay/neuter program aimed at decreasing un-homed litters of cats and dogs in the city.

Council was addressed by Ohio Avenue resident Linda Ziegler, who said she is still waiting for the city to “get its act together” in regard to the purchase of rental property she owns on Garfield Street, which is to be demolished to make way for remediating a collapsing retainer wall.

Ziegler said she was told it would take between 30 and 45 days for the sale to close and she evicted her tenants, expecting that to occur in January.

Councilman Brian Kerr assured her, “It’s moving along. We’ve done our part.”

She was advised to speak with the law director or service-safety director, but Ziegler said, “The last time I did that, I was told to get out of City Hall.”

Also addressing council was Cora Street resident Richard Cunningham, who had promised to be a “thorn in the side” of council until a drainage problem jeopardizing his garage was remedied.

He told council he returned from church Sunday to find Councilman Scott Barrett enlarging the ditch and said, “A thank you needs to be given.”

Cunningham turned his thoughts to another problem, saying that, while most Pleasant Heights dog owners are good about keeping their pets leashed, there is a stray cat problem. He was advised that the legislation forming the animal welfare grant at Bosco’s recommendation is aimed at addressing that problem, with Councilman Fred Rayl reminding him that donations are being accepted.

Save Our County President Alonzo Spencer brought council up to date on a recent final ruling by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding a consent decree concerning S. H. Bell and manganese levels, and President of Council John Torma said he is in the process of scheduling a meeting of an ad hoc committee to address these environmental issues