By Joe Gorman
Mahoning County commissioners learned they now have total control of a Meridian Road property they want to use to build a new dog pound.
Gina Bricker, an assistant county prosecutor, told commissioners at their weekly meeting Thursday that Judge Lou D’Apolito of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court approved the transfer of the property from the Western Reserve Port Authority to the county late Wednesday.
The WRPA agreed earlier Wednesday to transfer the property, which was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in April, to the county. The property is the former Jump Stretch building.
Judge D’Apolito’s approval was needed because the property was in foreclosure and was sold to pay off a debt to a bank.
Bricker told the commissioners the county now has until July 1 to close on the property.
At the April auction, the port authority paid $250,000 for the property with the understanding it would turn it over to the county to be used to replace the current dog pound on Industrial Road. The county then would have leased the property for 10 years from the WRPA before owning it outright.
Authority board member Don Hanni III, however, raised questions about the purchase because he said it violated Ohio law and authority bylaws because Chairman James Floyd took a blank check with him to the auction.
David Ditzler, chairman of the commissioners, said after the meeting he is not sure the authority will be able to handle the matter because of the controversy over how it was purchased, so he thought it was best the county take it over outright.
“We didn’t want to lose our ability to maintain that building,” Ditzler said.
Ditzler has called for the authority to be dissolved, and Mahoning and Trumbull county commissioners have discussed it, although a final decision has not been made.
The commissioners appoint members to the authority, which is charged with overseeing operation of Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna and economic-development projects.
Meanwhile, Floyd, of Warren, who served as chairman starting Jan. 22, has resigned from the authority board.
Floyd submitted his resignation to the Trumbull commissioners in a letter dated May 14. The resignation was effective at the end of the WRPA meeting Wednesday.
The letter did not give a reason for the resignation.
Contributor: Ed Runyan, staff writer.