GIRARD Will cash-strapped city need another bank loan?

One lawmaker expressed concern that the city will lose out on government grants.
GIRARD -- Mayor James Melfi won't consider another bank loan to help bail out the financially strapped city without first discussing that move with city council's finance committee.
Because the city may end the year $1 million in the red, a possible loan from Second National Bank has been considered.
When questioned by Councilwoman Kathleen O'Connell Sauline, D-2nd, during Monday's council session, Melfi said he doesn't want to go into long-term debt. Sauline said the city not having enough operating cash could result in the city missing out on government grants because it will not have the local share.
The city already has borrowed $4 million from Second National of Warren to build the justice center and $2.25 million from the bank for underground utilities when U.S. Route 422 is widened. The city pays $1.44 million annually to pay off the 19-year loans.
Both Melfi and city Auditor Sam Zirafi said another loan would be a short-term solution to a long-term fiscal problem. The mayor suggested that his administration meet with the finance committee. In the meantime, the state auditor's office is reviewing city finances and may have some suggestions, he added.
The special state audit is expected to be completed in June.
City Treasurer John Martin said the city income tax receipts are down $38,000 from a year ago. Martin reported to lawmakers that Warren's voter approval of a 0.5 percent increase in its income tax will hurt Girard's revenue because a number of Girard residents work in Warren.
Noise ordinance: In other business, council adopted a noise ordinance that increases penalties for violators.
Violators face up to a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 for the second and $300 and three days in jail for the third offense.
The measure covers noise from various sources, including animals, firearms, vehicles, construction sites, radios and televisions, power tools and loudspeakers.
High grass: Councilmen Reynald Paolone, D-1st, Thomas Grumley, D-4th, and Joseph Manente, D-at large, expressed concern with property owners who are now mowing their grass. The city has an 8-inch limit on the length of grass.
Manente charged that absentee landlords are the repeat offenders, while Paolone called for legislation to deal with chronic offenders.
"What needs to happen is people need to be prosecuted," Melfi said, noting such action would cost them money and embarrassment.
The mayor termed the repeat offenders "pigs" and "garbage in our community."

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