City eyes land sale

By David Skolnick

A deal could be done in the next two to three months.

YOUNGSTOWN — The financially ailing city is anticipating a one-shot injection of up to $665,000 through the sale of a former industrial site it received for free.

City council will consider legislation today allowing the board of control to negotiate the sale of about 22 acres to a metal recycling company. A deal could be finalized in the next two to three months, said Finance Director David Bozanich, who declined to disclose the company’s name because of ongoing negotiations.

The company would hire about 15 people, he said.

The city is projecting a deficit in its general fund of more than $3 million by the end of the year and about $6 million by Dec. 31, 2009, if cuts aren’t made.

The sale of the former Youngstown Sinter Facility off Division Street is among a handful of one-shot deals the city anticipates making to help its immediate cash problem.

The city’s general fund includes $2.34 million for the one-shot sales of assets, land and easements.

“It’s not a definite,” Bozanich said of the Sinter sale. “This is a difficult financial environment.”

In addition to the one-shots, city administrators say about 60 jobs need to be eliminated — or the financial equivalent, $3.9 million in salary and benefits — by July 1 to offset the projected deficit.

City officials continue to negotiate with employee union representatives to avoid or reduce layoffs.

Council also will consider today authorizing the board of control — consisting of Bozanich, Mayor Jay Williams and Law Director Iris Torres Guglucello — of spending up to $500,000 from the city’s water and wastewater funds, which have large surpluses, for work related to storm water runoff as well as the installation of storm and sanitary as well as waterlines.

By state law, the city isn’t permitted to transfer money from water and wastewater funds to its general fund.

The city accepted the 22 acres near its Ohio Works Business Park late last year as a gift from Snyder Demolition and Revitalization, a Pittsburgh company that demolished the former 100,000-square-foot Sinter Facility, last used about five years ago by WCI Steel. Snyder cleaned the site after hauling away the scrap and sold it.

The property received national attention as it was shown during an HBO profile piece the cable network did on Kelly Pavlik shortly before the Youngstowner won the middleweight boxing championship Sept. 29.

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