Trustees will take another vote on the road improvements Monday.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Township trustee Judy Bayus says she's willing to support the proposed improvement of Gibson Road, as long Mahoning County is willing to foot the $400,000 bill for the project.
Bayus voted against the improvement project, which calls for the road to be repaved and widened to 20 feet, at a special meeting Thursday without giving a reason for her vote. She also has voted against the project in the past without explanation.
A unanimous vote is needed to approve the project. Trustees Paul Moracco and Bill Reese both voted for the improvements.
The road, which is off state Route 46 just north of the city of Canfield, is 10-12 feet wide and marked by potholes.
Reese said he'd seek approval for the project at Monday's regular trustee meeting.
After Thursday's meeting, Bayus said she would be happy if Mahoning County took responsibility for maintaining the road and paid for the improvements.
"I'd kiss the road goodbye," she said. "That would absolve the albatross around our necks."
Bayus said Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer Joseph Warino told the trustees in 1998 that the county would install a water and sewer line along the road using a grant. She said both Warino and County Engineer Richard Marsico said the lines should be installed before the road was repaved and widened.
At the time, the county was responsible for maintaining the road. Bayus said that according to Warino, the trustees had to take responsibility for maintaining the road before the county would install the water and sewer lines.
Bayus said she voted to take responsibility for the road in 1999 expecting that the water and sewer lines would be installed.
"That has not come to pass," she said. "[Warino] made a promise. He reneged on that promise." Bayus said Warino told the trustees he couldn't get a grant to pay for the project because the city of Youngstown, and not Mahoning County, controlled the water system.
A waterline has since been installed by the developer building homes at the west end of the road.
Warino could not be reached to comment. Trustee Paul Moracco, however, said Warino only agreed to consider installing the water and sewer lines. Bayus said she felt her fellow trustees were aware of Warino's statements, and that's why she hasn't discussed the statements at past meetings.
Bayus said she would have an "informational meeting" later this month to further explain her position.
Some funding for the project would come from a $230,000 state Issue 2 grant. The rest would come from the township's general fund.
"The people along the road don't have to pay for anything," Reese said.
Reese reads statement
Thursday's 30-minute meeting, which was contentious at times, opened with Reese reading a prepared statement to Bayus. In the statement, Reese reminds Bayus that she was elected trustee to, "maintain the health, safety and welfare of our township."
"Why won't you do the job that you were elected to do?" he read.
Bayus responded by asking Reese who wrote the resolution to improve the road. Reese said he wasn't sure.
Bayus also read a letter from her private attorney, Frank Bodor, stating that the township couldn't move ahead on the improvements without the signatures of at least 51 percent of the Gibson Road homeowners. After the meeting, Reese said he had the signatures.
Trustees also have received a petition with 400 signatures supporting the improvements from a citizens organization called the Common Sense Foundation. St. Angela Place resident Leo Napolitano, a charter member of the foundation, said that most township residents want the road to be repaired and don't understand why Bayus won't vote for the improvements.
"It's like everything else in Mahoning County: It takes 10 times more effort to get it done," he said.