July 22, 2014

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Lorain mayor alleges the delay of road and water plan is political

LORAIN — The bumpy relationship between Mayor Tony Krasienko and some City Council members is delaying future road paving and water line projects.

A pickup passes a pothole on Pearl Avenue in Lorain last week. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

A pickup passes a pothole on Pearl Avenue in Lorain last week. (CT photo by Bruce Bishop.)

Council members last week approved applying to the state for $2.4 million in road improvements Reid Avenue between West First and West 22nd streets and Washington Avenue between West First and West 22nd streets, as well as Washington Avenue between Meister Road and West 22nd Street. Work is scheduled to begin next year. However, Council, in a 6-5 vote tabled a presentation of the three-year road rehabilitation plan.

The plan called for nearly $4.2 million in paving and water line work in 2013 on Hamilton Avenue as well as West Fifth and West Sixth streets, according to Council documents. In 2014, the plan called for work on Clinton and East Erie avenues as well as on West Seventh, West Eighth, West Ninth and West 10th streets. Funding estimates were not available.

Council members Joel Arredondo, Andy Drwal, Eddie Edwards, Mitchell Fallis, Dan Given and Anne Molnar voted to table the presentation. Council members Brian Gates, Tim Howard, Bret Schuster, Myroslaw “Mickey” Silecky and Craig Snodgrass voted against tabling the presentation.

“This is coming down from the people that you hired full time to give you recommendations to make your decisions on,” Krasienko told Council members prior to the July 18 rejection. “There’s sound engineering and sound planning behind it. It’s worthy of 15 minutes of your time in a committee meeting.”

Krasienko said on Tuesday that the city needs more long-range planning for water line projects, which need to be done before street paving.

“I challenge you to drive Fifth, Sixth and Hamilton, and how anybody could disagree that those streets need to be done, and they’re at the heart of the water line system,” he said. “Same thing with Seventh, Eighth, Ninth (and) 10th.”

Krasienko, who after the vote accused Given of conspiring with Auditor Ronald Mantini to change invoices to pay for repairs at The Pipe Yard, said the rejection was political. Given denied the charge saying Krasienko’s lame duck status — Krasienko was defeated in the May Democratic primary by Chase Ritenauer, Given’s nephew — was why he voted to reject the presentation.

Given said approving a three-year plan would take away decisions from Ritenauer and future Council members. Given also said a three-year plan isn’t necessary because a bad winter can change which roads need the most work.

“From year to year, the data that’s used to rate the roads changes,” Given said. “There are certain winters where you come out of winter and a road that was perfectly fine the year before looks like Afghanistan.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.