LAWRENCE COUNTY Police get $30,000 from drug forfeiture



John DiMuccio was hired as a consultant for the downtown revitalization project.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- City police dog Chuck is going to find himself with just about all the dog treats he can eat after helping bring $30,000 to the city.
The police department was given a check during Thursday's council meeting by Lawrence County District Attorney Matthew Mangino. The money is the department's from a drug forfeiture.
Chuck, a German shepherd, found $150,000 hidden in the floor boards of a house they were searching for drugs. The money was split by the city police, district attorney's drug task force and the Pennsylvania attorney general's office as part of the state's drug forfeiture laws.
"If it wasn't for Chuck we wouldn't have found the money," Police Chief Tom Sansone said. "He's worth his weight in gold -- all three of our police dogs are. Chuck is going to get a big box of milk bones."
City police plan to use the money to buy a new vehicle, law enforcement software and security cameras.
"This is just another sign of how commitment and hard work and team work can be successful," Mangino said.
Project coordinator hired
In other business at its meeting Thursday, council hired former city business administrator John DiMuccio to be project coordinator for downtown revitalization project. He will be paid $2,000 per month from the $2.1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant that Gov. Ed Rendell delivered to the city earlier this month.
The money will be used to create three city parks and refurbish the bridge near the former Troutman's building.
DiMuccio will be the liaison between state officials and the city. Mayor Wayne Alexander said DiMuccio was chosen because he was instrumental in starting the downtown redevelopment project.
Council also voted to keep DiMuccio on as a city consultant to help business administrator Tammi Gibson. He was given the job earlier this year with a salary of $1,500 per month. His salary was reduced to $500 per month because of his new duties with the downtown.
Alexander said he wants to keep DiMuccio as a city consultant to help Gibson through the budget process.
Park project
City council also voted to give the Lawrence County Redevelopment Authority the lead in updating the Riverview Commerce Park Redevelopment Plan. Riverview Commerce Park includes the former Shenango China plant on Sampson Street.
The authority has the ability to take property by eminent domain, the government's legal right to take property, usually in exchange for fair compensation.
Linda Nitch of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation approached council last month to see if the city would ask the redevelopment authority to get involved.
She said a business inside the plant, Shenango Refractory, wants to expand, but the building owner, David Choi, refused to make the necessary repairs to the building. Others have offered to buy the property for new development and Choi has turned them down, she said.
cioffi@vindy.com

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