MVSD $15.4M in upgrades showing progress
By Jordan Cohen
The Mahoning Valley Sanitary District has spent $15.4 million in upgrades in the last two years on 17 projects, which the chief engineer calls an essential investment in the district’s assets, including the Meander Reservoir Dam.
“These investments will improve and protect the services provided by MVSD to our member cities and surrounding communities,” Ramesh Kashinkunti reported to the MVSD board of directors Wednesday.
The sanitary district provides water from Meander Creek Reservoir to its members Youngstown, Niles and McDonald, who in turn sale water to other Mahoning Valley communities.
Figures provided by Kashinkunti include more than $2.2 million for design of the dam and spillway project and $7.5 million on system valve replacement, which is nearing completion of its third phase.
The total estimated cost for the dam and spillway upgrades is $28 million.
Earlier this year, Kashinkunti told The Vindicator the dam fails to meet specifications of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, but he emphasized the shortcomings “do not pose a danger of anything catastrophic” and that the dam’s structural integrity is sound.
The chief engineer said the lengthy design and bidding process means construction is not likely to begin until 2020 and will take “two construction seasons” to complete.
Kashinkunti said ODNR does not have an issue with the time line even though completion will not occur until sometime in 2022.
“They understand the process, and they know these things take time,” the chief engineer said.
Meanwhile the unpaid sick leave legal dispute between Anthony Vigorito, former plant operations manager, and the board has taken another turn in court.
Vigorito’s attorney, Martin White of Warren, filed a motion with Judge Peter Kontos of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court asking for a summary judgment ordering the MVSD to pay his client more than $11,500 in sick leave benefits.
Summary judgment eliminates the need for a trial, White said earlier, “when there is no genuine issue regarding material facts and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
“We will be filing a response,” said Atty. Thomas Wilson, MVSD legal counsel. “I expect it will be sometime in September before [this case] is resolved.”
Last June, Vigorito was awarded nearly $15,000 for unpaid administrative leave before the termination of his position. State law permits such payments when there are misdemeanor convictions, but not if the offender is found guilty of a felony.
Vigorito’s position was abolished in June 2017 after he was charged in connection with falsifying training certificates for Youngstown Water Department employees in 2013 and 2014.
The prosecution at the time said the employees never took or completed his classes. Last December, Vigorito pleaded guilty to reduced misdemeanor charges of attempted forgery, criminal noncompliance and records tampering. He was placed on one year’s probation.
In other business, Richard Hale of Niles was unanimously voted board president. Hale, president of Summit Supply and Storage, has been a board member since 2015.