Board OKs early radio payoff, downtown contract

YOUNGSTOWN — Sitting several feet apart, the city’s board of control members approved paying off the police and fire departments’ radio system early, and hiring a firm to provide oversight on a downtown improvement project.

Tuesday’s meeting was at the Covelli Centre’s community room — the first time in at least two decades that the board conducted business outside City Hall. City Hall was closed last Wednesday to the public and to nonessential city employees because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The only people to attend Tuesday’s meeting were the board’s members — Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, Law Director Jeff Limbian and Kyle Miasek, the interim finance director — as well as Erica Avery, the finance department’s secretary; and two news reporters.

Brown said his staff is “adapting and learning how to live in this space” after changes were made because of the outbreak.

Several other city agencies and boards have canceled meetings. Brown said city council’s April 1 meeting has been canceled, and the legislative body is looking at possible ways to have a teleconference meeting sometime next month.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board agreed to pay the remaining $1,420,372 owed to Motorola Solutions Credit Co. LLC for the police and fire departments’ radio system with money from the speed-camera fund.

The city purchased the encrypted radio system in April 2017 for $1,657,622 to be paid back over 10 years with a 3.59 percent interest rate.

By paying the eight remaining annual payments at once, the city is saving $181,387 in interest.

The board also approved a $229,276 contract with MS Consultants Inc. to provide construction administration, project field representation and testing services for a project to North Phelps Street, between West Federal and West Commerce streets.

Marucci and Gaffney Excavating is being paid $1,343,060 for the project that includes the reconstruction of a 24-inch sewer line and an 8-inch waterline as well as the development of a pedestrian walkway.

The project is still scheduled to be finished in August on time, Brown said.