LIBERTY Trustees hire Durkin to be new fire chief

Belmont Avenue may become more pedestrian friendly later this year.
LIBERTY -- Township trustees formally hired Michael Durkin as fire chief Monday under a five-year contract effective May 1 at a salary of $54,000 a year.
Durkin, who is now a fire captain in Youngstown and lives in Boardman, said he plans to move into Liberty and serve the full five years. Under his contract, he must move into the township within 18 months.
Robert Catchpole, the current chief, will remain as a captain, and Durkin said he plans to work with Catchpole on establishment of a fire prevention and inspection bureau under a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.
Ungaro's new job: Also present at Monday's meeting was Patrick Ungaro, who served as Youngstown's mayor for 14 years and was recently appointed township administrator at $59,000 a year, effective June 3 under a three-year contract requiring him to move to the township within one year.
Ungaro said he would likely make the move regardless of the township administrator position. He said he would be seeking a smaller home now that his children are grown. He also said he'd leave his job as assistant principal at Youngstown's West Elementary School at the end of this school year and devote full time to his job as township administrator.
"Right now, I have absolutely no political aspirations. That doesn't mean it may never happen," he said of the prospect of running for another elected office.
Belmont sidewalks: Trustees also approved an agreement between the township and the Ohio Department of Transportation for the state-funded installation of sidewalks along Belmont Avenue and approved payment of $7,221 to MS Consultants of Youngstown, the project consultants.
Trustee Patrick F. Durina said the sidewalks are to be installed on both sides of Belmont with landscaping, benches, grass and flowers over a one-mile stretch from the hotels in the vicinity of I-80 south to Gypsy Lane.
he installation, which will cost about $400,000, may occur by late fall, he said. The township will provide about $74,000 to match the state funds. "It's going to help Belmont start to look a little bit better," he said.
George Curl of Tomilu Drive told trustees the sidewalks would only bring "unsavory" people and those who won't spend any money in the township.
Police Chief Anthony Slifa said, sidewalks do not cause crime. "The criminal today uses a vehicle."

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