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Trustees vote to join Land Bank

June 14, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Austintown trustees approved a resolution for the township to become part of the Land Bank and get some funds to help demolish homes that are nuisance properties.

The resolution would help Austintown get a share of $1.5 million that has been set aside for Mahoning County under the Moving Forward Grant Program. The vote authorizes the Mahoning County Land Reutilization Corporation to file an application with the Attorney General's Office for Austintown to participate.

Austintown Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli said, "We have a list of 12 homes that need to be demolished. We would like to start in September."

He said the first half-million of the county's allotment is free and the remaining million would require matching funds.

On a different county matter, trustees heard from Mahoning County Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney. She told trustees she was looking for support to prevent a cut in the amount the District Board of Health receives to provide testing and enforcement of landfills.

She said the county gets tipping fees from trash dumped at one of three active landfills in the county. In 2011, the tipping fees totaled $2.9 million. In 2012, the fees totaled $2.96 million.

Of that funding, the Green Team Recycling Division gets $13.40 per capita for recycling while the Health Department gets $3.77 per capita for enforcement.

"This year, the Board of Health was notified it would have a 25 percent reduction," she said.

That reduction would mean a cut in services. Right now the department, according to Sweeney, monitors seven landfills of which three are still active and four are closed. The department also tests 217 wells in homes near the landfills to ensure the landfills are operating correctly. The department also responds to calls regarding health-related matters.

"We want Austintown Township's support to have the Board of Health funding remain intact," she said. "The reduction would affect services. The well testing may have to be cut back."

Sweeney had been at the Boardman Township meeting prior to coming to Austintown. She said the chances of keeping funding intact are better if the bigger townships support it.

In other business:

Trustee Jim Davis said he was just informed that the Austintown Relay for Life had beaten the goal of $108,000 for the event held last weekend. The most recent numbers showed the event raised $110,000 and the fundraising will continue for the summer.

Trustee Lisa Oles commented on the Austintown Schools busing situation concerning elementary school kids riding the WRTA. She said the township has received calls from residents saying if that happens they will never vote for another levy again.

"As trustees, we don't control what the Austintown Board of Education does," she said. "Residents need to direct their anger towards the entity responsible."

Chairman Dave Ditzler added, "I don't like to comment about what other boards do or don't do. I respect the Board of Education members and I hope they work things out."

Township Fiscal Officer Laura Wolfe asked residents to watch as they drive township streets. She said school is out and the children are outside playing

Trustees approved high grass and debris nuisance complaints on 36 properties and junk car complaints for two properties.

A new liquor permit was approved for Elias F. Alexander III, dba Sparkys, 3657 Mahoning Ave. The permits are Classes D1 and D2.

Trustees reappointed Michael V. Beaudis to a two-year term as alternate for the Austintown Township Board of Appeals.

Fire Chief Andy Frost said his department got a check for $3,712 from the insurance company of a truck that had responded to a chemical spill on I-80.

Police Chief Robert Gavalier said his department received $600 thanks to the late John Higgins, who requested donations be given toward the police K-9 unit.



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