MINGO JUNCTION - A couple of dozen senior citizens voiced their concerns to Village Council Tuesday about possible cuts to the senior center.
The issue of cuts throughout the village was discussed at a finance meeting on Aug. 31.
Clerk John Angelica said the village is facing difficult financial times with the cut in income tax because of the RG Steel plant closing and the loss of revenue from water that had been sold to the mill.
The senior center receives 4 percent of the income tax revenue.
Angelica said Tuesday that council appropriated $67,225 at the beginning of the year for the senior center, which was based on the anticipation that some workers were going to remain at the plant through the end of the year. The senior center has about $24,000 left for the rest of the year. Angelica said he believes the center may be short by about $3,000 by the end of the year.
Angelica said the loss of income tax revenue will have an impact on everyone in the village.
"If people think it won't affect kids on the playground or senior citizens, they are wrong," Angelica said.
Mayor Ronald DiCarlo said the village has no intention of closing the senior center but may have to cut back the days it is open. Several residents said lunch is served there on weekdays. Council discussed keeping the center open all five weekdays but closing the center some days after lunch.
"We'll work on a plan to hopefully keep it open five days a weeks. We may have to ask for volunteers to staff it," DiCarlo said.
Senior center Director Susan Zorbini asked where the residents are going to eat if the center is closed down.
"It is all they have," she said about the senior center. "It would be nice if we could get more support from the village (for activities and help)," she said.
One resident said the pool should be closed first.
Village resident Kitty Kakascik said, "The senior citizens should come first."
Village resident Jeannie Sawon suggested the senior center be privatized and operate as a nonprofit group so it is eligible for grant funding from various sources. She said center could be rented for a $1 a year.
Baci Carpico of state Route 151, Mingo Junction, asked why the $400,000 in the community complex fund couldn't be used to operate the center. Village officials said the community complex fund is for construction and not operations.
Carpico said there is nothing left in the community.
"To shut it down two days is absolutely stupid," he said.
Village resident John Shaw said it is nice to provide recreation services, such as the swimming pool, but it isn't a necessity.
Also, Councilman Michael Herrick said he and Councilman Chuck Dickey surveyed all the streetlights in the village. He said the village spends $70,000 a year on streetlights. He recommended streetlights at intersections be kept on. That amounts to 59 lights. The remaining 431 lights will be turned off unless residents make arrangements with AEP to privately pay the bill.
DiCarlo said a public meeting will be held prior to a decision. Herrick said a list of the streetlights to be turned off will be posted in the future at the Municipal Building.
Council at the finance meeting in August discussed revisiting the proposal to sell timber on village property on West Boulevard.
John Watson, who lives on West Boulevard, presented council with a petition from residents in the area opposing the timbering suggestion.
"It will destroy the whole neighborhood," he said.
Council also took no action after the third reading of an ordinance limiting the parking and number of boats and recreational vehicles in the village.
Under the ordinance, residents wouldn't be allowed more than two boats or RVs. The boats and RVs would not be allowed to be parked on the street. The RVs and boats have to be parked in the rear or side of the residence and no closer than 5 feet for a property line.
No council member made a motion to adopt the ordinance.
Fire Chief John Wright asked council to reconsider changing the current ordinance because it pertains to boat trailers and RVs over a certain length. He said the length needs to be extended or the fire department will have to enforce the current regulation.
Council also approved a resolution thanking AdeQ Firearms Co. of Tampa, Fla., for donating three rifles to the police department. Ron Estep, AdeQ Firearms chief armorer, is a Mingo Junction native. Police Chief Steve Maguschak said the rifles are valued at $1,400 each.
Herrick gave an update on activities of the Mingo Revitalization Committee, a group of village residents working to improve the community. The group meets every other Monday. Herrick said the committee is working to establish a web site to keep residents informed of its activities.
Herrick said the group has been conducting cleanups around the village and is working on bringing in businesses to the community.
Council also accepted the resignation of Frank Fuscardo as village administrator. Fuscardo said he will remain until the end of September or until a replacement can be found.
DiCarlo addressed why he has been absent from several council meetings. He said he had a heart pacemaker installed and he is experiencing complications. "I have no intentions of stepping down," DiCarlo said.