Warren adds more than $600,000 in street repairs

Funding to be used for 22 road projects not in city’s original budget

WARREN — City Council approved legislation Wednesday that will allow the administration to seek bids for more than $600,000 worth of additional road improvements for 2019.

Administration officials credited the extra money to the 0.5-percent income tax increase passed in 2016. The additional funding will be used to do 22 road projects that were not scheduled when the city created the 2019 budget last year.

Paul Makosky, Warren’s director of engineering, planning and building, said the department attempted to evenly divide the award for projects throughout the city.

Mayor Doug Franklin said the unexpected funds will be used to pave and do other construction work on non-target area streets that do not normally receive state or federal funds.

Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa said the administration, with the help of council, has been able to keep the promises it made when it was trying to convince voters to pass the income tax, including increasing the sizes of both the police and fire departments — as well as do $500,000 worth of road improvements — with the money.

“Promises made and promises kept,” Cantalamessa said.

City Auditor Vince Flask said both personal and business withholding taxes are about where the city projected they would be at this time.

“The increased funds are coming from other sources,” Flask said.

City Treasurer Tom Letson said he could not definitively state that the additional $600,000 came from the 0.5 percent income tax increase because all the money comes from tax collected and goes into the general fund.

In addition to the funds approved for road work, council also passed legislation allowing the administration to apply for federal funds through the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments to replace the Packard Park pedestrian bridge, which spans the Mahoning River. The bridge is now closed because of structural deficits, Makosky said.

Makosky will seek $52,000 from Eastgate for a $65,000 engineering study that could take place in 2021. The local match for the project will be $13,000. He also will seek $186,000 from Eastgate for a $930,000 construction project, which will require a $744,000 local match.

Makosky said he is not confident this Eastgate grant is perfect for this project, but there are other grants that may be better suited for this type of bridge replacement project.

“Even if we receive these grants, the bridge will be closed four to five years,” Makosky said.