YOUNGSTOWN Council to weigh issues at meeting

The first round of grass-cutting on vacant lots has been completed.
YOUNGSTOWN -- City council was to consider today the acquisition of laptop computers for police cars, replacement of the Marshall Street Bridge and new regulations for dog kennels.
Legislation coming before council's special meeting at 5 p.m. today would authorize the city to accept a $389,878 state grant to buy 20 cruiser laptops as well as related equipment and training. The grant requires 25 percent ($97,469) from the city.
Council's finance committee recommended passage at a meeting Monday.
That committee also recommended appropriating $50,000 toward engineering services for replacement of the Marshall Street Bridge over the Mahoning River.
Kennel rules
The long-debated kennel regulations, which would define kennels, limit the number of dogs they can house and impose requirements for their operation, was sent to council by the safety committee.
"The t's have been crossed and the i's have been dotted, and I think that it's time for us to take it out of committee and pass it. We're having more and more trouble with dogs and kennels in the city," said Councilman Richard Atkinson, R-3rd.
Because council chambers are under renovation, today's meeting will be in municipal courtroon No. 1 on city hall's second floor.
Grass and weeds
Joe Mastropietro, streets superintendent, told the safety committee his department completed its first cutting of grass and weeds on vacant lots last week and is beginning the second round this week. Because the weather has been favorable, the city may be able to do a third cutting, which wasn't done last year, he said.
Charlene Taiclet, street department grant coordinator, announced that 23 people have been convicted and almost $5,500 in fines has been collected in the city's 18-month-old illegal dumping enforcement campaign.
The program is paid for through a Community Development Agency grant.
Councilmen Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, and safety committee chairman Artis Gillam Sr., D-1st, said municipal judges should be urged to impose even harsher sentences on illegal dumpers, but Taiclet said the request for harsher sentences should be directed to the city prosecutor's office, which makes the plea bargains judges often approve in these cases.
Gillam urged city residents to jot down license plate numbers of violators and report illegal dumping to authorities when they see it.

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