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Pit bulls under scrutiny in Girard

GIRARD — After recent incidents involving pit bulls, including one killing another dog, city officials are cracking down on vicious canines — following guidelines from an ordinance originally approved in 1987.

Mayor James Melfi told city council this week that a pit bull has been running loose in the city, mainly in the Tod Avenue area and near Tod Park, and residents are complaining about the dog being aggressive.

He said an ordinance approved in July 1987 indicates that no resident should own and harbor a pit bull terrier.

“We have been getting some calls about dogs, which is not unusual in the spring. The dogs that have been bothersome have been pit bulls. We will not allow our citizens to be intimidated by dog owners who do not follow the law,” Melfi said.

Melfi said the incidents have occurred in the past couple of weeks, including the pit bull that killed another dog. He said police will be citing violators who do not control their aggressive dogs and let them run loose.

In other business, Councilman Sam Zirafi, chairman of the utilities committee, said the city will be addressing water-related capital improvement projects such as replacing aging and damaged waterlines, and working on water booster pumps and tanks.

He said after the city got out of fiscal emergency it was able to purchase needed equipment and vehicles for city departments and to fix city roads.

“Water is one area we have not done a lot with. We have COVID (relief) money coming to the city, which can help us. The committee needs to sit down with the administration and prioritize the projects. We need to begin doing something with infrastructure related to water since it is the oldest utility in the city — or we will begin having problems. We need to begin doing something now,” Zirafi said.

Girard has been told it will receive $1.81 million in relief money due to the ongoing pandemic.

He said the city already has refurbished one water tank and officials now need to make improvements to the lift stations and set aside money each year for identified water projects.

Councilman John Moliterno, finance committee chairman, said with additional money coming to the city it can address antiquated waterlines.

“We need to set the dollars aside and begin to do these projects before they become an issue,” he said.

Melfi said the city may be able to get Ohio Public Works Commission funds to help cover projects, with the city having the funds to cover its local share for the project.

“If we have the local share, we are nearly guaranteed to get the OPWC funds,” he said.

Also, council will be submitting properties at 909 and 1047 Washington Ave. to the Trumbull County Combined Health District to proceed with their demolition because they are in poor condition.

Melfi also is contacting the state auditor’s office to get final income tax totals for 2020 in order to see where to best use the COVID-19 funds the city is to receive. He and Treasurer Mark Zuppo have been at odds over the final totals for last year.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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