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Councilman questions Newbold’s decision

May 8, 2012
By JO ANN BOBBY-GILBERT - East Liverpool Reporter ( , The Review

EAST LIVERPOOL - One city councilman weighed in Monday night on legislation being proposed by a state representative that would limit the liability of county governments in lawsuits.

During the regular City Council meeting, Councilman Ray Perorazio referred to an article Sunday regarding a bill introduced by state Rep. Craig Newbold that would require a public entity found liable in a lawsuit to exhaust all means of paying the judgment before going after a county to satisfy the judgment.

Perorazio said Newbold was quoted as saying his reasoning for the bill was to protect taxpayers from having to pay the bill for the transgression of someone else.

"What about the people of East Liverpool?" Perorazio asked, saying, "This wasn't a mistake (on the part of BWD). It was a deliberate attempt to cut the contract (with the city for the purchase of water)."

Perorazio said, "You made a mistake. Step up and be men about it. Make it right."

The proposed bill is in direct response to a lawsuit the city won against the Buckeye Water District in which county commissioners were named as co-defendants because the county once operated the water district prior to it becoming BWD.

East Liverpool sued BWD when the water district decided to stop purchasing water from the city, despite having a contract to do so. The court agreed with the city, awarding it $4.8 million in damages, which it has yet to collect.

A second lawsuit was filed in November by the city in an attempt to collect any money commissioners receive from gas and oil leases.

In legislative matters Monday, council passed an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Michael Baker Jr. Inc. for construction inspection, record keeping and other services for the upcoming paving project on St. Clair and McKinnon avenues, Maine Boulevard and Ambrose Street.

The contract with Baker will not exceed $76,223. Bids for the project are expected to be opened May 15, and Mayor Jim Swoger said after the meeting work could begin after June 1.

Perorazio also again raised the issue of landlords not caring properly for their rental properties, including grass cutting, saying they need to be held responsible.

Councilman Scott Barrett said one community had decrepit buildings razed then split the remaining property between adjacent property owners, and Swoger said that is something the city needs to look into, noting the issue is a good topic for the next department head meeting.

Although successful, the spring cleanup project did not attract as many residents as expected, according to Swoger, who said a second one may be held this year.

Councilman Sherrie Curtis commended all those involved in the annual cleanup, including Heritage-WTI, Swoger and his wife, Amy.



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