East Liverpool council will consider ballot issues

EAST LIVERPOOL – City Council will be asked Monday to consider placing two issues on the November election ballot, including a police levy and a levy that will fund demolition of dilapidated structures.

Council’s finance committee agreed Tuesday to forward resolutions authorizing placement of the issues on the ballot for council’s consideration at its Monday meeting.

Previously, council had agreed to have the county auditor certify the amounts for such levies.

Already having heard from opposition from the community, city officials know a levy to raze privately-owned buildings is going to be a hard sell, and for that reason, finance Chairman Sherrie Curtis told the committee a plan needs to be devised to inform the public of how the levy funding will be used.

State law does not permit the ballot wording to specify the revenue will be used for other than “current expenses,” which is how the levy will be listed, but Curtis has said in the past, council will have to vote and sign a document specifying the revenue will be used only for demolition of abandoned properties.

She said perhaps planning to remove unsightly houses at the main entrances to the city during the initial year of the levy and then tearing down the rest over the next four years in some type of lottery system would be a way to convince voters of the need for the revenue.

According to Curtis, with the newly formed Land bank system in the county lending assistance and the levy in place, the city should be able to remove at least 100 of the abandoned structures over the five-year period.

The 4-mill police levy proposed will allow the department to be more proactive than reactive, police Chief John Lane had told the committee previously, since it will help cover the cost of keeping shifts covered when officers are off on vacation and otherwise.

If council agrees to place the issues on the November ballot, and they are approved, collection will begin next year.

The committee also forwarded for council’s consideration a routine budget ordinance adjusting appropriations.

Among the adjustments included an additional $12,000 in the incinerator department for the purchase of new dumpsters, which Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell said will replace many that are 20 or more years old.

In a related matter, Estell said the recent city-wide cleanup had not attracted many residents with trash to the Car Barn, with only about 50 people participating.

“They clamor for this then hardly anyone shows up,” he complained, noting that there will be two more clean up days this year.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in renting the city’s large truck to haul debris from their home can do so for $125. A city employee will drive the truck to the house on a Friday, leave it so it can be filled over the weekend, and pick up the filled truck on Monday.

Residents interested in that service can contact the mayor’s office, according to Estell.

Council’s street committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday prior to the regular council session to discuss some legislation, including an ordinance pertaining to a group that plans to use the former East Junior High School for a type of community center.