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City Council deals with requests to waive water bills

August 22, 2018
The Town Crier

Canfield City Council had to deal with three requests to waive part of the charges on utility bills at last week's (Aug. 15) meeting. Each request had a specific set of circumstances surrounding it, and Council had to deal with each one separately.

The first request was to wave a $5,400 water-sewer bill for an abandoned property at 280 Lisbon Street. The owner of the property next to 280 is owned by Pat Acri, who was working towards buying the property.

"All I am looking for is relief on the water bill," he told Council.

Once the motion for the request was on the floor, Council had a long discussion over whether or not to grant it. Chuck Tieche said the city has to buy the water in bulk from the City of Youngstown. If the water portion of a bill is waived, then every water user in the city would have to pay for it.

"I am opposed to waiving the water portion of this bill," said Councilman Chuck Tieche.

Regarding the sewer portion of the bill, which was roughly half or $2,700, City Manager Wade Calhoun said Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer can wave the sanitary portion to the city. The city could then waive that fee for the customer.

Acri told Council he was just looking for relief. He had contacted the bank and if he had to front the full water bill, he may not be able to make the purchase.

City Attorney Mark Fortunato said the property has been abandoned for several years and if waiving the sewer and water would set a precedent, then it "would be a good precedent." He said it is a plus to have person come in and take charge of an abandoned property.

Council voted unanimously to wave the sewer portion of the water bill for the property, contingent upon Acri purchasing it.

The second request was for the property at 351 Oak Street, where an owner was claiming a bill was too high after they moved in last year. In an attempt to establish what a normal usage was for the property, the city went through two more billing cycles over a one year period. It was noted by Calhoun that the city did already pay Youngstown for the sewer and the water involved on this bill. Council unanimously turned down the request.

The final bill was a request to waive the late fee on a utility bill for 40 Callahan Road. Calhoun said the property owner met only four of the criteria that would have allowed him to waive the late fee. After a brief discussion, Council voted 4-0-1 to refuse to waive the fee. Councilman John Morvay abstained from voting as he knew the party involved.

In other business:

Council approved entering into an agreement with the Board of Education and Canfield Township to provide the cost of an SRO (School Resource Officer) and a second motion to describe what the SRO duties would be. Resident Frank Micchia spoke on the matter and felt the schools should fund an SRO for each building. He claimed the Canfield Schools had a unencumbered balance each year of roughly $14 million that could be used for additional SROs.

Council approved unanimously to use electronic means of communications for notices.

Council also passed ordinances for adopting general architectural character requirements, entering into a contract for with Foust Construction (low bidder) on the North Hillside Waterline Project, and for adopting the replacement pages to the codified ordinances that were recently updated.

First readings were held for entering into agreements with with Canfield Township over Joint Economic Development and Annexation agreements.



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