TRUMBULL COUNTY Examining timber, gas as revenue sources
Nine bids were received for the first phase of timbering.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- City officials want to take a hard look at natural resources in an effort to increase revenue.
Mayor James Melfi told members of the state-appointed fiscal oversight commission Thursday that the city expects to see at least several thousands of dollars by the end of the year from the sale of timber from city-owned property around Girard Lakes. The problem right now, though, is where the money can be deposited.
City Law Director Mark Standohar recently issued an opinion saying that because the land is located by the lakes, the money must be deposited into the city water department fund.
But Melfi noted that Standohar is already working on petitioning the court system to let the money be transferred to the general fund in an effort to reduce the city's debt.
Bids for timbering
Officials opened bids earlier Thursday for the first phase of the timbering project, he added. Nine bids were received, ranging from $103,000 to $162,000. In this instance, city leaders are looking for the highest bid, because the numbers are based on what revenue companies believe they can get for the timber. A percentage of that money will then be paid to the city.
"Our bidding specifications are that half of the money is paid within the first two weeks, with the balance due by Dec. 1," Melfi said.
Once the timbering process starts, it could continue for up to 18 months.
Melfi also told commission members that city leaders are exploring the possibility of contracting with gas companies to drill natural gas wells in various spots throughout the city.
Some locations, he said, could be near city parks as well as the cemetery.
Melfi said council is ready to examine legislation concerning such gas wells that was passed more than a decade ago to see if it needs revision.
If companies are allowed to drill natural gas wells, the city would be paid an up-front fee for the well, as well as receive a percentage of profits from gas generated by the wells.
Melfi noted there is no way to determine in advance how much money could be generated by the wells, because each contract with each company would be individually negotiated, and that there's no way to determine until the wells are installed whether natural gas exists in those spots.
But, he said, officials hope the move could be profitable, and soon.
"Hopefully, this is something we could move on in the fall," he said.