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Wellsville: We were never told about need for match for CDBG

WELLSVILLE — Village Mayor Nancy Murray denounced the recent comments by a Columbiana County official regarding their grant application as “a smack in the face” during a recent council meeting.

Commissioners received $392,000 in Community Development Block Grant for projects benefiting areas that fall within the federal low-to-moderate median household income guidelines.

Applications totaled in excess of $950,000.

Wellsville had applied for their $82,302 Clark Avenue project, which was rejected largely because officials had said that they didn’t offer a local match for a portion of their project.

“One of the things we all look for is the local contribution as well as need. We think it is important that political entities are willing to put some of their own money into the project,” Commissioner Mike Halleck had said.

Murray explained Tuesday that she and Fiscal Officer Hoi Wah Black, who had been in attendance for the hearing like the others through Zoom due to the pandemic, never were told that the lack of a local match hurt their chances.

Councilwoman Karen Dash suggested that perhaps Wellsville citizens should voice their concerns at the ballot box. “When is Halleck up for re-election?” she inquired.

Commissioners had awarded Wellsville $79,000 in CDBG money two years ago for a major street resurfacing project.

Murray also informed council the village has decided not to take ownership of the former Shingler’s Jewelry store due to the possible liability issues.

The building, which had been owned by William Bowers, began collapsing in late May 2019, and has been continuing to deteriorate due to the rotting wood. Vacant for more than a decade, the building has liens and back taxes attached to it.

By accepting the property, the village would resume those liabilities. With Wellsville declining it will fall back to the state.

Council members also approved Salineville’s appointment of Dean Devitt to the Buckeye Water District board.

In other action, council rejected a $4,653 donation for the Veterans Park and a modification of the mayor’s current COVID-19 executive order, as both being too restrictive, as well as paid bills totaling $1,678.

Councilman Keith Thorn cast the lone no vote against an ordinance establishing the wages for a permanent part-time sewer clerk. Thorn cited its failure to come before his committee before introduction and vowed to reject all ordinances not vetted by his committee or the municipal attorney.

Per the legislation, the clerk will make no more than $10.50 per hour at a maximum of 29 hours (except in times of emergency determined by the mayor).

Council next will meet at 6 p.m. June 16 in council chambers.

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