ELO councilman, the ‘road man,’ makes point about paving projects

EAST LIVERPOOL – The head of City Council’s street committee voted this week against legislation authorizing a contract to resurface several streets and funding the project.

Councilman Scott Barrett supported the first reading of the legislation authorizing a contract with Diorio Paving Inc. for resurfacing portions of West Fourth Street, St. Clair Avenue and Eutaw Street and also an ordinance authorizing borrowing $96,797 for the Eutaw project.

Barrett also went along with suspending council rules and placing the issue on final reading. However, when it came time to vote for the two pieces of legislation, Barrett balked and voted against them without comment.

After the meeting, Barrett said he expected the legislation had enough support without him so he voiced his opposition to “make a point.”

Saying, “I’m not much of a politician, but I’m a good road man,” Barrett said he does not believe the city prepares its roads properly prior to resurfacing projects and thinks the same will be true of these projects.

As road foreman for St. Clair Township, Barrett said he ran for council primarily due to the condition of the city’s streets and said the quick deterioration of Lisbon Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and St. Clair Avenue following extensive paving projects proves his point that they weren’t properly prepared prior to paving.

The Fourth Street paving project, for example, requires removal of the bricks for the surface to properly adhere, but he does not believe that is in the plan.

“When they did Lisbon Street and St. Clair Avenue, I said it wouldn’t last two years, and I said I won’t waste anymore taxpayer money if a street isn’t prepared right. Do them the right way,” Barrett said.

After the meeting, Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell agreed with Barrett’s assessment about properly preparing roads, but said the city does not have enough money for the extensive preparation required, noting it would take more than $1 million to properly prepare Pennsylvania Avenue, for example.

Parking on sidewalks also came up for discussion during the meeting, with Councilman Tom Cunningham saying one household at St. Clair and Princeton does it every day, noting, “It almost looks ghetto.”

Councilman Ray Perorazio said children have to walk in the street due to cars parked on the sidewalk on Harvey Avenue.

When it was suggested the police department issue warnings, Chief John Lane said they do not have warning tickets.

“Then ticket them,” Perorazio insisted.

Referring to a recent complaint by the fire department union about lack of manpower, Councilman Chuck Wade said he had looked at the budget and didn’t find much discretionary funding.

However, he said thought was given several years ago to eliminating the city health department and contracting with the county health department, which he said would have resulted in a “significant” savings.

Mayor Jim Swoger responded, saying the county offered nursing services once a month, noting, “If you sat here and watched the (number of) kids who need shots, you might think differently.”

Water Superintendent Tim Clark reported that work has started on the East End water line replacement project, resulting in a boil order from the first pipe cutting.

No one lost water pressure or service but regulations call for the boil order whenever water is depressurized, he explained.

Clark also discussed with Barrett a complaint by a May Street resident about water entering his basement, with Clark saying the water department has investigated the matter numerous times and finding no proof that it is city water involved. He said other residents have indicated it might be from an old stone quarry above the street.

Barrett said the water can be diverted and said he will speak with the street department.