Council considers rescinding 'controversial' ordinance | News, Sports, Jobs – The Steubenville Herald-Star

Jan 26, 2022
STEUBENVILLE — City Council is going to take another look at its public forum ordinance.
At Tuesday’s meeting, 3rd Ward Councilman Eric Timmons said he will introduce legislation at the Feb. 1 meeting to rescind the controversial ordinance in its entirety.
Currently, residents with questions or concerns must sign up by noon the day of the meeting. City Manager Jim Mavromatis has said the system gives him an opportunity to reach out to department heads and find the answers residents are looking for, oftentimes satisfying them to the extent they no longer feel they need to attend the meeting.
Timmons said he wanted to make it “so nobody has to sign in.” The measure would require three readings.
“If you take it away, won’t it go back to Friday?” 1st Ward Councilwoman Asantewa Anyabwile asked.
“I think Eric’s intent is to take it away (altogether),” Law Director Costa Mastros replied.
Efforts to loosen the public forum rules or eliminate them altogether had met with fierce opposition in the past, but three new council members took office in January.
“I just feel it’s time, that’s all,” Timmons said after the meeting. “It’s as simple as that.”
Pressed to elaborate, he said only that, “It’s what the citizens want (and) I think council is ready (to act on it).”
Fifth Ward Councilman Willie Paul, meanwhile, sunshined emergency legislation authorizing Mavromatis to purchase and equip another ambulance for Steubenville Fire Department’s EMS.
Fire Chief Carlo Capaldi previously told council it could cost as much as $360,000 to buy and equip the ambulance, which he said is vital. Paul said they’ll use a portion of the city’s American Rescue Plan funds to finance the acquisition.
He also called a finance committee meeting on Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. to close the book on the 2021 budget and go through the current spending plan. The following week, Feb. 8, he said the committee will meet at 6 p.m. to review each of the funds.
Councilwoman at large Kimberly Hahn told council she’d like to figure out a way reuse the old Grant School property in downtown Steubenville.
A retailer had been interested in the property, but backed out “because the basement was just filled, legally, with debris,” she said, suggesting council should make it a priority to find out if the fill material has asbestos or lead.
“If it does, there’s $1 million available for brownfield remediation,” Hahn said. “If not, maybe we can approach the Port Authority to assist with that.”
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