Youngstown building dept. to be dismantled Monday

Published: Fri, January 4, 2013 @ 12:02 a.m.

By David Skolnick

By David Skolnick


The city’s board of control approved a plan to have Mahoning County take over its building department, effective Monday.

The board voted in favor of the proposal Thursday, a day after city council authorized the board to take such action.

The city department has one employee, who will receive a 14-day layoff notice today.

Having a fully staffed city building department would cost about $450,000 to $500,000 annually, Mayor Charles Sammarone said. Instead, it’s easier and cost effective to have the county take control of providing building permits and enforce building codes, he said.

The consolidation should save the city about $235,000 annually, Sammarone said.

County commissioners approved the proposal last month. But city council delayed a vote in December to look at the option of fully staffing the city’s building department and increasing fees to make more money.

Also Thursday, the board agreed to spend $1,169,500 to repair the three elevators in the city-owned 20 Federal Place office building.

The work will start in a month and take about a year to complete, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s department of public works.

The board chose the Murphy Contracting Co. of Youngstown to do the work, which will be done one elevator at a time. Murphy had the least expensive of the two proposals for this project.

The elevator improvement work is required as part of a contract the city has with VXI Global Solutions, a call center on the fourth and fifth floors of 20 Federal Place and the building’s largest tenant.

Meanwhile, the board agreed to hire Marucci and Gaffney Excavating, a Youngstown company, for $1,016,400 to replace storm and sanitary sewers on North Phelps Street from West Federal Street to Lincoln Avenue.

North Phelps doesn’t run directly from Federal to Lincoln, blocked by a pedestrian walkway between West Commerce and West Wood streets.

The plan, Shasho said, is to take out the steps, which “zigzag” in three or four locations, replace the sewer lines underneath them and construct a new pedestrian walkway that would be straight except for one shift.

The work will start in a month or two and be done around September, Shasho said.

Marucci submitted the least-expensive proposal among the six companies seeking the work.

The steps are near Erie Terminal Place, a 40-apartment building at 112 W. Commerce St.

At Thursday’s meeting, the board of control agreed to give a $220,000 grant to the owner of Erie Terminal to offset additional water and sewer work at the building, said T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s economic development director.

The city previously gave $350,000 to Erie Terminal Place LLC., owned by Dominic Marchionda, for water utility expenses, and a $2 million loan in 2011 that has to be repaid by March 1.

The company, which spent about $9 million on the project, also received $3.22 million in state and federal historic-preservation grants.

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