Fines fund Girard projects

GIRARD — City council gave its first reading Monday about how it will disperse the $1.8 million in speed-camera fines generated by traffic offenses in 2020.

Council also is moving forward to get some downtown buildings and some residential properties in violation of zoning codes demolished.

As for the allocating of the civil penalties for automated speed violations, 58 percent of the $1.8 million collected will be placed in the general fund; 18 percent in the street construction fund; 14 percent for the recreation fund; and 5 percent each for capital improvements and capital improvements safety.

The city has used the speed cameras as a way to slow down traffic on heavily traveled routes including U.S. Route 422 (State Street), which goes through downtown, and Interstate 80, which passes through just south of downtown.

To ensure the city doesn’t lose money because of the changes, council voted to raise the fines and implement a tiered-ticket system.

The fines, which were implemented in 2019, are $150 for speeding in a construction zone. The three-tier fine structure calls for tickets of $125 for 10 to 15 miles per hour over the limit; $135 for 16 to 25 mph over the limit and $150 for 26 or more mph over.

In other business, Mayor James Melfi said the city is advertising for bids for demolition of two businesses at 15 and 25 W. Liberty St., which have become hazardous and unsafe. The buildings are near Olgun’s Cafe.

Melfi said the buildings were condemned and slated for demolition by county health department officials.

“The conditions of the buildings have been determined to be dangerous and need to come down. The buildings are next to each other, and it was determined they share a common wall …. that … are both are in danger of falling,” he said.

Fourth Ward Councilman Thomas Grumley asked if any COVID-19 relief funds can be used for demolitions and when the buildings are removed, if the locations can be used as park sites.

Melfi said a residential property at 909 Washington Ave. is set for demolition and another at 1047 Washington Ave. is in the process for demolition due to violations. He said the property at 1047 Washington Ave. was in very poor condition with roof shingles on the ground.

Safety Service Director Jerry Lambert said he met with fire Chief Ken Bornemiss to see if the abandoned building across from the old high school off Wilson Avenue also can be demolished.

In another matter, Councilwoman-at-Large Lily Martuccio asked if the city’s noise ordinance can be updated after concerns about vehicle stereos and other items in the parks near the basketball courts and playgrounds. There are also loud noises coming from businesses off U.S. Route 422, which are disturbing residents in the Squaw Creek neighborhoods.

“Several residents have been complaining about very loud noises,” she said.

The matter will be discussed by council during a caucus at 6:15 p.m. June 28.



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