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City talks funds for authority

October 10, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The City Council finance committee will meet Tuesday to discuss a funding request from the Jefferson County Port Authority.

Third Ward Councilman Greg Metcalf requested the 6:30 p.m. meeting to review the request made by the port authority and "to discuss the issues and an e-mail sent out last week by the city manager."

Following a nearly hour-long executive session last week, port authority Chairman Jay Zatta said the new economic development organization needed financial support from Steubenville and Jefferson County.

Zatta also said the port authority would seek a nonprofit status in order to accept private donations.

During the Oct. 2 meeting, Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison said she would ask City Council to consider giving city-owned property included in the South End Strategic Plan to the port authority for future sale or development as the city's support for the fledgling organization.

Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham told the port authority he is willing "to fund as much as $50,000 for seed money."

"I would also be happy to do something. You can't do anything without money. Our county budget is still amazingly healthy," Commissioner Tom Gentile said at the Oct. 2 port authority meeting.

Council heard an encouraging report Tuesday from Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman, who said the unemployment numbers for Jefferson County decreased from August 2011.

"Jefferson County showed another increase in the number of people employed during August, according to information released by Ohio's Office of Workforce Development. The unemployment rate was 10.6 percent compared to the August 2011 figure of 11.6 percent," said Looman.

Looman also cited employee hiring is under way at H&H Screening and Graphics East on Lovers Lane and reported five companies have looked at the former RG Steel property in the city's South End and now owned by Strauss Industries.

During the regular meeting Tuesday night, council unanimously approved two ordinances that will enact regulations to govern potential future Internet sweepstakes cafes and devices in the city.

The approval by council members came after a public hearing held last week by the city's planning and zoning commission.

No one attended the hearing, and the planning commission sent a letter to council urging adoption of the amendments to the zoning code and the business code.

"I don't want to see what happened in Weirton happen in Steubenville with the Keno cafes every 150 feet. We already have one cafe in the city and Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi has had calls from other similar businesses asking about locating here," said 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins.

Council also approved several changes in the city's finances to adjust for an $18,951 financial loss in the 2012 summer food program.

Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall said he did not make the right estimate for the number of meals to be served during the summer months and a financial adjustment was needed.

Second readings were heard at the meeting for an ordinance amending the city's fair housing code to make it consistent with the state and federal fair housing laws, as well as legislation authorizing the advertisement for bids for the purchase of necessary supplies for the service department in 2013.

Council heard the second reading of an ordinance allowing the city manager to advertise two lots on north Fifth Street for sale through an advertised bidding process.

And council members heard a second reading for the city to renew an agreement with the Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District to provide assistance with the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandated Phase II Storm Water Management Plan.

Council also heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing a $8,250 payment to attorney Joe Corabi for negotiating an oil and gas lease for the city.

Council members recognized the late Robert D'Anniballe Sr. and Paul Rue for their recent induction into the Franciscan University of Steubenville Hall of Fame.

October was proclaimed Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Oct. 17 as National Mammography Day.

Council also proclaimed Sunday through Saturday as Fire Prevention Week.

Also, a resolution supporting the creation of the beautification subcommittee was approved.

"We want this to work. This committee will help bring pride back into our community. The committee will be judging efforts to beautify properties and neighborhoods throughout the city and will also serve as judges for the annual Christmas light contest," explained 4th Ward Councilwoman Angela Suggs.

Sixth Ward Councilman David Lalich asked any resident in his ward who is interested in serving on the beautification subcommittee to contact him at (740) 266-6070 or (740)381-3573.

Council approved emergency legislation authorizing an auction of five city-owned motor vehicles no longer needed for municipal purposes

In other business, 1st Ward Councilman Gerald DiLoreto thanked Kirkendall and volunteers Patrick McLaughlin and Mark Nelson for cleaning the Jabby Young Trail from Pleasant Heights to Beatty Park.

Health Commissioner Patty Reda discussed the recent meningitis outbreak related to contaminated steroid shots.

"There has been one confirmed case in Ohio but no cases in Jefferson County. None of the affected drugs were shipped to our county," said Reda.

And Mayor Domenick Mucci officially announced Trick-or-Treat hours in Steubenville will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Council heard a request for support of the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School's 1-mill operating levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.

"Our purpose at JVS is to produce taxpayers. We have lost a half million dollars in state budget cuts. But we want to continue to prepare our kids to go out from our school into a job or to college. We need your support and vote for our levy," stated Karen Spoonemore, JVS treasurer.

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