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Council's decision to hire firm is under fire

January 10, 2013
Morning Journal News

EAST LIVERPOOL - City Council's recent decision to hire a Utah economic development firm came under fire by two business owners during this week's council session.

Brian Kerr, owner of PC Doctors, and Chris DeSarro, owner of several businesses in the city, addressed council on other issues but also referred to the decision to hire Better City LLC.

Kerr said he is "all for it," but the town needs cleaned up first, specifically pointing to the Second Street recycling center that he said has become nothing more than a dump for out-of-state people.

DeSarro said "You don't need someone to tell you what's wrong," saying council doesn't help out any business in town and asking, "Do you realize how much business you lose when you lose a business? There's spinoff for every business."

He referred specifically to two liquor licenses being lost to the city, presumably the one for the University Club his family owned and Dan's Bar on Sixth Street, both of which were closed by the city after being deemed nuisance properties.

DeSarro also pointed out 155 streetlights are out along state Route 39 and the city has failed to hire local contractors for projects.

During his remarks, Kerr also referred to the current situation in the city of Steubenville, his hometown, where an anonymous group has been spreading information about a suspected rape case, saying, "That Anonymous thing has taken over down there."

Before start-up of Monday's council meeting, copies had been placed at each member's seat of Kerr's Facebook status on which he wrote, "Thank you, (A)nonymous for all the info on elected officials. To uncover dirt like you do, it's amazing people like this run this town, bankruptcies, foreclosure, lawsuits. In appropriate [sic] relationships with a female student. A French degree, with no business background. The list goes on and on. All I can say is wow. Just wow."

He told council, "Someone printed out what I was posting but there was no (demeaning) here."

Asked after the meeting how his comments about city officials could not be construed as demeaning, Kerr said, "Are there any names on there?"

Kerr was seen prior to the meeting, asking for signatures on his petition for the council at large seat.

In legislative matters, council gave approval to three ordinances, one paying $7,034 for repairs to the City Hall elevator; another setting annual cost allocations from water and sewer, with no increase; and the third appropriating the carry-over from 2012 for encumbrances and purchase orders this year.

Resident Alma Johnson also asked council about using the former East Junior High School for the annual Black History program, which was referred to the service-safety director, who is responsible for buildings.

Perorazio said River Road is nearly impossible to drive on and said the city is going to need to take another look at assessing a tonnage fee on the companies whose trucks use that road.

"Those companies are making millions and millions and we get very little from them," Perorazio said.



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