By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Improving the quality of life tops Mayor Hank Angelo's agenda.
In his state of the city address Thursday at a Warren Kiwanis lunch, he touched on several topics, including blighted areas, housing, transportation, parks and safety services.
He thanked citizens for passing a 0.5 percent income tax increase May 8 -- the money going to the police and fire departments left understaffed by layoffs in January 2000.
Revenue this year is expected to top $23 million, $1.5 million of which will be generated by the additional tax, with collection starting in August.
Laid-off safety service personnel who haven't found other jobs are back to work. Angelo said the police department will have 84 officers and the fire department will have 75 employees.
Services offered to residents are very good, but not the best, the mayor said.
Controlling the dogs: The city's dog warden was laid off in 2000 but came back to work recently.
Angelo said city council is preparing to change laws regarding vicious dogs to protect the public. Certain breeds will be characterized as vicious and owners will have to carry more liability insurance.
Parks closed in 2000, but Perkins and Packard parks will open as soon as city council appropriates the money, Angelo said.
Shaping up: While blight in Warren is not as bad as it is in Youngstown, the mayor said, efforts are being stepped up to clean up the city.
Six casual laborers and one full-time employee will be hired to do property maintenance code enforcement, working with codes concerning debris, exterior appearance and high grass and weeds.
Coloring the city: An exterior painting program is in place for low-to moderate-income families. Lead abatement programs are costly, he said, so officials are considering whether it would be beneficial to implement a program to outfit homes with vinyl siding.
The city is also working on a program to paint houses in designated areas with colors deemed historical.
A homeowners' assistance program is also in place and a landlords association formed recently to work with the city and protect its investment.
New neighborhood: Efforts to improve the housing stock are also under way, and Angelo said a housing community is being planned for the former Westlawn neighborhood.
The crime-ridden neighborhood was razed in the past few years. It accounted for 11 percent of all fires in the city and 15 percent of all crime.
A housing community, to be called Alden Estates, is being planned for Westlawn, with villas, condominiums and homes, the mayor said.