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Council split on budget decision

April 29, 2014
By J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Canfield City Council was unable to pass an ordinance to restructure the city's current debt and finance a proposed new building improvement at last week's city meeting. The ordinance was a split decision of two to two, causing the ordinance to fail.

The ordinance would have given authority to the city manager to borrow up to $1,240,000 to restructure the city's current debt, which includes the payment on the Red Gate Farm property, and to finance a proposed new building improvement to the police department building expected to cost no more than $500,000.

The improvement to the police department would likely be an addition that would allow more space. Mayor Bernie Kosar said it is needed for record storage and for personnel, who are working in cramped spaces now.

''I don't see how we can not do this,'' Kosar said prior to the vote.

The concern for Councilman Chuck Tieche involved having the city's general fund go into a deficit. He said borrowing is not the way to go.

Councilman John Morvay said, ''The surplus in the budget is going down. I think we need a levy for capital improvement projects.''

Morvay and Tieche both voted no to the proposed ordinance and Kosar and Council President Steve Rogers voted yes. Since it was a tie, the ordinance failed.

Tieche also mentioned water and sewer rates. He said in 2010, the city got a notice from the city of Youngstown that stated the water rate Youngstown charges Canfield would be going up. In 2013 the city approved an increase to be passed on to city customers, but the costs from Youngstown was increasing every year.

''Our surplus in the water fund is close to zero,'' Tieche said. ''Our expenditures exceed our income. I would like to see an 8.75 percent increase made this June. I am asking for council to consider it and consider the replacement of the 24-inch main line.''

In public forum, resident Frank Micchia said, ''Increasing city taxes to cover improvements in the city should not be done. Let's save money instead of spend it. Sell Red Gate as it is a cash cow.''

Council did approve a motion at the meeting to accept Animal Charity as the city's humane agent. City Manager Joe Warino said the acceptance would close a loophole in the law. He said presently the Mahoning County Dog Warden responds to dog complaints in the city, but will not come out for cats or other animals. Animal Charity will respond, but was on a county level. By adopting the motion, the city accepts them as a humane society agent for the city.

In other business council:

* Read an email was read from a local Boy Scout who is looking at repainting the playground equipment at Greasel Park as an Eagle Scout project. The project still has to pass the Scout council for any work to begin.

* Heard from Kosar who gave the Mayor's Court report for March which included a gross income of $8,995.55 and a new collection for the city of $7,038.36. He said in the month of March city police made 408 traffic stops of which 370 were issued warnings and 38 were cited.

* Heard from Warino who mentioned the change in natural gas suppliers to Volunteer Energy Services. He said anyone who opted into the program after it was originally started, would have to opt in to the new program. He said those residents would be contacted and notified one more time prior to the switch over to the new company.

* Heard from Micchia who again asked that all department heads be present to give reports at the city council meetings. He said he wanted the city to be more transparent. Tieche answered his request by saying the city manager is who all the department heads answer to and he is the one to give reports. Tieche said Canfield runs under a manager form of government.



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