City hall carries out fiscal move
By Virginia Ross
East Palestine’s previous government building was simply too big and costly.
EAST PALESTINE — The new city hall is operating at the former McCamon Insurance building on North Market Street, and it’s business as usual.
The city shut down its operations Jan. 2 to make the move from the Captain Taggart Building to the new site and recently started providing services there, officials said.
Although the new building, which is between Fuller’s True Value and Threshold Open Door Opportunities, is unmarked, city officials intend to place a sign on the structure to let the public know where the new municipal offices are.
The building houses offices for the city manager, clerk of council, mayor and building and zoning inspector. The utility bill payment area is located through the front door of the building. There is also a drop box for bill payment across the street near the post office. All city meetings are at the city park community center, unless otherwise announced.
Residents stopping into the building may park in spaces along North Market Street, officials said. However, the city is renting parking spaces from the East Palestine Church of the Nazarene for its employees’ personal vehicles, and there are a few spaces for city vehicles behind the building.
E-mail addresses for all city officials are the same, as are most telephone extensions. The city nurse has a new extension because her office has been moved to the police department. She can now be reached at (330) 426-1200.
Last month, council authorized city Manager Gary Clark to borrow $53,000 from Huntington Bank to buy the McCamon building.
At that time, council also agreed to sell the Captain Taggart property to area resident Robert J. Luketic Jr. for $50,000. The former elementary school building at 82 Garfield Ave. had served as city hall for the past 10 years. Citing increasing utility and maintenance costs, officials said they have been looking to move city operations out of the Captain Taggart building for the past few years. They have said the building is too big for the city’s needs.
Clark reported it costs about $60,000 a year to heat the 35,000-square-foot building and cover the boiler and roof maintenance agreements.
“We’re definitely looking to save a tremendous amount with this move,” Clark said. “It’s a much smaller space, and the utilities alone will save the city money, something we need to really focus on now. It’s really the best move for the city.”