COLUMBIANA COUNTY Columbiana begins city life; E. Palestine hopes to keep it
East Palestine officials haven't yet heard from Ohio's secretary of state.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- A public hearing on regulating adult bookstores will be the first item of business tonight as Columbiana City Council convenes for the first time.
The secretary of state's declaration of Columbiana as a city took effect Sunday. It had been a village.
City Manager Keith Chamberlin said Monday -- Columbiana's first full business day as a city -- was not much different than any other business day.
"It was quiet, really," Chamberlin said.
He said he and finance Director Mary Louise Dicken traveled to Salem for advice on health department matters.
Ohio cities may establish their own city health department or contract with county health departments, and Columbiana will do the latter, Chamberlin said. Salem contracts with Columbiana County Health Department.
As a city, Columbiana must establish a civil service commission and recognize union representation of its employees.
The sergeants, patrolmen and dispatchers of the Columbiana Police Department have petitioned to be represented by the Ohio Police Benevolent Association.
City status is based on a U.S. Census population of 5,000 or more. According to the recent census, Columbiana's population is 5,635.
What's happening: Regarding tonight's public hearing on regulating adult bookstores, Chamberlin said no one has asked to locate an adult bookstore in the city. City officials, however, have been following developments in an ongoing controversy over such a store Pulaski Township, in Lawrence County, Pa., and want to take a proactive stance, he said.
Chamberlin said council will also consider requests for zoning changes on the former Firestone Farms property, where construction of a golf course is under way.
In East Palestine: Meanwhile, East Palestine officials are waiting to hear from the secretary of state's office regarding its census results.
City officials disputed U.S. Census 2000 figures that put East Palestine some 70 residents below 5,000, the number needed to remain a city.
City officials and volunteers conducted a recount and reported the city's population at 5,085.
If the U.S. Census 2000 figures stand, the city would revert to village status, losing its health department and millions in federal and state grants.
Police, represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, and street department and water-sewer plant employees, represented by the Teamsters, would lose union representation when both contracts expire in December 2002.