By Terry Duffy
Following a boisterous public hearing last week in Youngstown - one to consider changes in the village code on a 15-minute parking provision fronting a Lockport Street business - no action was taken by the Village Board of Trustees on Thursday night.
"We're looking at it," said Trustee Mark Fox. "(But) we will take no action until we decide what to do."
Such summarized the village stand thus far in response to an Oct. 4 village trustees session on the parking issue - one that had some rather heated comments from interests representing Anchor Spirits liquors and village residents (See story at www.wnypapers.com).
Mark Butera, co-owner of Anchor Sprits, again appeared before the board where he revealed his business has accumulated 33 pages of support from 2,300 residents thus far opposed to the measure.
"We hope you will react favorably on this," he said.
But a final decision was not to come. Instead, board members opted to table the measure. Village Mayor Raleigh Reynolds recommended no action be taken on any changes for the time being on the 15-minute provision. Instead, he suggested the matter be included in an overall review of village parking regulations, which is now underway.
Deputy Mayor Tim Lockhart discussed board actions be taken to neutralize any moves on the village code targeting the 15-minute provision that night. He also suggested it be included with a host of other parking issues facing the village, including handicapped parking and new locations under consideration to handle parking in the village business district.
"It's all part of the discussion," he said
"We're still looking at it," Fox said. "I suggest we take no action until we decide what to do.
"There is a big concern with handicapped parking. I also want to see more parking (options) in the village."
Fox added he welcomed input from area residents and businesses.
When it was all said and done, no action was taken, as trustees let the measure fail for lack of second.
Commenting on the board's action (or lack of it) that night, Cheryl Butera, co-owner of Anchor Spirits, who also serves as president of the Youngstown Business and Professional Association, said she came away with more questions than answers.
"The expression 'clear as mud' comes to mind," she said. "Without closure on our parking signs, we will continue collecting our petition. The need for clear communication is absent between all business and the board."
"It appears to me to be a demonstration of them not being 'business friendly,' she continued. "Therefore, we will proactively stay on guard for ourselves and our YBPA members. Forewarned is forearmed."
Turns out, it wasn't the only flak from attendees that Reynolds and village trustees received that night.
In leadoff comments, resident Mike Stella, owner of the Mug and Musket, came out with a call to dissolve the Village of Youngstown government, citing overall management issues and out-of-control costs to property owners.
"It seems to be a fair amount of consensus that things are not really going all that well, and (we're) really not getting a good return on our tax dollar," he said.
Stella went on to tell trustees how Youngstown property owners pay in excess of $700 in taxes on a $100,000 assessed property over what similar owners in the Town of Porter, namely the hamlet of Ransomville, would pay, for example.
"And there's no tangible difference in services at all," he said.
Resident Norm Swan, who also spoke in favor of the dissolving the village, pointed to the cost issues, namely an ongoing sewer overcharging dispute with the Town of Porter and its impact on village property owners.
"We've been overcharged," he said. "How will you ever pay it back?"
No response on the issue was to come from Reynolds or village trustees.
In discussions later on in the session, Village Attorney Tom Caserta said the village has and continues to make progress with the Town of Porter on the sewer overcharge dispute.
"The relationship with the town has improved," he said, adding that, in the eyes of the village, the town has been charging Youngstown users the wrong rate. "It will be coming a head."
More to come on this as news develops.
•The board announced Youngstown Recreation Department will hold its annual Halloween party and parade on Saturday, Oct. 20. Festivities open that day with costume contest at 12:30 p.m. in the Red Brick Village Center gym followed by the parade at 1 p.m. The Halloween party continues at the Red Brick from 1-3 p.m.
•The board announced Halloween trick-or-treat hours will be 4-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.