LORAIN — A Grove Avenue sewer line project to spur economic development was rejected Monday by City Council members with opponents citing taxpayer costs.
The proposal called for taxpayers to pay 25 percent of the $296,235 cost, which is about $74,058. The 1,500-foot project from Grove and Fairless Drive to Frankford Avenue includes the property of the Joe Firment Chevrolet dealership, which moved to Avon in 2012.
Seven property owners would pay the remainder of the cost. Detractors said they should pay 100 percent.
“I can’t see the general benefit for all the taxpayers of the city of Lorain to pay into this when it benefits a few,” said Councilman Dan Given, D-at large.
Given’s attempt to increase the assessment to 100 percent was defeated. Given and Council members Dennis Flores, D-2nd Ward, Greg Argenti, I-4th Ward, Eddie Edwards, D-5th Ward and Joe Koziura, D-at large, voted yes. Councilmen Tony Richardson, D-at large, Brian Gates, D-1st Ward, Tim Howard, D-3rd Ward, Rick Lucente, D-6th Ward, Joe Faga, D-7th Ward and Josh Thornsberry, I-8th Ward, voted no.
“We need to be business friendly,” said Faga, who is a spokesman for Ohio Edison, before the vote on a 75-25 plercent assessment.
Ohio law requires a three-fourths majority for a “resolution of necessity,” and it was defeated with Edwards, Given and Koziura voting no. Mayor Chase Ritenauer said he expects his administration may re-propose the project at the March 17 Council meeting with a 100 percent business assessment.
“We need to do something,” he said.
In other business
* Council approved spending $202,336 in local taxpayer money for Lorain’s portion of a federal road resurfacing project that includes state Route 57 north of state Route 113 to East 36th Street. Federal taxpayers are paying 80 percent of the cost for the project, expected to begin in April.
* Council approved a resolution that would restrict all churches opening in the future to secondary streets on Broadway between West Erie and Reid avenues and restrict social service establishments in areas designated as a business district on Broadway.
* Law Director Pat Riley said a proposed ordinance increasing fees to property owners for the city cutting high lawns from $300 to $450 for the second cut, was too steep. The hike is designed to give property owners incentive to cut their own lawns, and Thornsberry said it was reasonable.
“If you take that logic to the extreme, you could be charging people thousands of dollars for a grass cut,” Riley told Thornsberry before the proposal was withdrawn for more study.
Edwards, who had been suffering heart problems and pneumonia, attended his first meeting since Nov. 4. He was warmly welcomed back by colleagues.
Edwards thanked his son, Gregory Edwards, and people who called him wishing him well. “You need to hear that when you’re down,” he said.
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.