Youngstown council delays vote on water-meter study, hears USPS plan
By David Skolnick
City council postponed a vote on hiring a company to determine the cost of replacing all its water meters because the administration didn’t include the estimated expense of the study in legislation.
The proposal called for council to authorize the board of control to hire a firm for the report with the cost to “exceed $25,000.”
When asked during a council finance committee meeting just before council’s Wednesday meeting about the specific cost, Water Commissioner Harry L. Johnson III said it would be “in the neighborhood of $75,000.”
Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, finance committee chairwoman, said some council members needed more time before considering the proposal.
The request “needs to be rewritten with an end dollar amount,” she said after the committee meeting. “He needs to put it down in writing.”
Council will consider the ordinance at its next meeting, Feb. 19.
Under the proposal, a firm would be hired to develop a plan to replace the 52,000 water meters in homes and businesses that receive city water.
The replacement would be a “multiyear project,” Johnson said.
The last meter-replacement project was in 1988, and the meters are supposed to last about 15 years, Johnson said.
On Wednesday, council voted to allow the board of control to sign a $48,000 contract with Arcadis US to conduct a study of the city’s sewer system.
The city signed a consent order with the U.S. EPA over a decade ago to spend about $160 million related to its treatment of wastewater in order to be in compliance with the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.
The city is required to build catch basins to help stop overflows of sewage into tributaries during heavy storms.
Also, council heard from Marla J. Larsen-Williams, a real-estate specialist for the U.S. Postal Service about plans to significantly reduce the size of its Cornersburg facility.
Larsen-Williams, based out of Bloomingdale, Ill., said the postal system wants to move from its 12,000-square-foot facility at 3375 Canfield Road to a 1,200-square-foot space in Cornersburg.
The USPS is discussing staying in the plaza with its landlord, Shutrump United Enterprises Inc., she said.
Councilman Paul Drennen, D-5th, who represents the Cornersburg area, said he had a conversation with Cocca Real Estate, the owners of a nearby location — a former Giant Eagle store that now has a Dollar General and a dog-wash business — that has a 1,300-square-foot space there.
It should take about six months to a year for the relocation to be complete, Larsen-Williams said.
Mail carriers in Cornersburg will move to the USPS’s downtown space. A new Cornersburg facility would have post office boxes and a retail store, and there would be no impact to mail delivery, she said.