Commissioners approve annex sale

Published: Fri, April 18, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners approved the sale of the county’s former South Side Annex to a neighboring building supply company — a fourth-generation family business founded in 1926.

Banner Supply Co., 103 E. Indianola Ave., bought the 97,232-square-foot annex on its 4.4-acre site for $190,000 in an auction last Friday, saying it would use the property for storage.

Built in 1957, the two-story brick annex at 2801 Market St., had been a Sears and Treasure Island department store before the county bought it from the Cafaro Co. for $1.6 million in 1975.

The last county agency to leave the annex was the auto-title department, which moved to Oakhill Renaissance Place — the former Forum Health Southside Medical Center the county bought in 2006 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court — in October 2012.

Also on Thursday, the commissioners endorsed State Issue 1, the 10-year renewal of the state capital-improvement program, on the May 6 ballot.

Placed on the ballot with almost unanimous legislative support, the measure would authorize up to $1.875 billion in bonds over 10 years for local road, bridge, sewer, water and other infrastructure projects.

Funds to repay the bonds already are built into state budget planning, so Issue 1 contains no tax increase, its supporters say.

Then-state Sen. Harry Meshel of Youngstown introduced the legislation that initially put the state capital-improvement program on the ballot when voters first approved it in 1987. The voters renewed it in 1995 and 2005. If it isn’t renewed again, the program will run out of money July 1, 2015.

County Engineer Patrick Ginnetti said his paving program, which repaved 10 miles of roads last year, would have been able to pave only two miles of roads without Issue 1 funding.

“It’s pretty much our lifeline at the county engineer’s office,” Ginnetti told the commissioners concerning Issue 1. “It’s desperately needed,” he added. The engineer’s office is funded by gasoline taxes, license-plate fees and Issue 1, and not by real-estate or sales taxes, he added.

Gasoline-tax revenues have been declining in recent years due to the introduction of more fuel-efficient vehicles and vehicles that run on electricity or compressed natural gas, Ginnetti said.

For water-supply and sewer-system upgrades of the county sanitary engineer’s office, which he also oversees, Ginnetti said: “All of the major funding goes through Issue 1, and, without that, we would be crippled, and we couldn’t maintain our own system.”

Issue 1 has been endorsed by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

Mahoning and Trumbull counties received about $8 million in Issue 1 money last year.

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