V&M Star’s attorney denied at Monday’s city council meeting that the steel company was interested in persuading Girard to transfer sewage jurisdiction to Youngstown.
Girard, a city that in January petitioned the state to end a more than 10-year fiscal emergency, is pegged to make up to $180,000 a year in treatment fees from pipe maker V&M Star.
“There is not a story,” said Kim Stefanski, the company’s attorney, at the meeting’s opening. “We are coming to Girard as planned. I don’t think there’s an issue.”
Instead, he said the only discussion involving sewage was the building of an emergency extension, or pipeline, to Youngstown’s wastewater treatment plant in case Girard’s plant failed.
The wastewater that comes from V&M Star to Girard is initially treated at V&M’s own plant.
Dennis Meek, a wastewater engineer for Girard, said the city receives on average 2.5 million gallons of wastewater from V&M each day. It has a capacity for 5 million gallons a day.
He said there have been discussions between both cities and the company on building the emergency extension. All parties are looking to amend the operating agreement in order to do so. During an emergency, Girard would control diverting the wastewater to Youngstown, Meek said.
Also discussed was the subject of the income taxes for V&M employees working at the former Indalex site, located entirely in the city of Girard.
Girard Mayor James Melfi said every person who works in that building should be charged the Girard rate of 2 percent.
Stefanski said there are several employees who park in front of Indalex but work throughout the complex. He said it would be impossible to keep track of each individual and where they work during the day. All the office staff at the Indalex site, Stefanski said, would be taxed at Girard’s rate.
Melfi wasn’t satisfied, saying any worker who begins or ends their day at the Indalex site should have the 2 percent Girard income tax withheld, not the cooperative agreement rate of 2.75 that is split with Youngstown.
“We have to make sure we are being treated fairly,” Melfi said.
He charged the city’s Treasurer John Moliterno with counting the cars parked at Indalex and making sure they match up with the numbers reported to the Regional Income Tax Agency, an accounting firm hired between Youngstown and Girard.
Girard Councilman Joe Shelby took a much more lax approach to the situation, saying Girard needed to be “flexible on this issue.”
“Let’s be a good neighbor,” he said.