New Castle News

October 11, 2013

Mahoning supervisors: We need a new building

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Mahoning Township supervisors demonstrated the need for a new municipal building this week.

Meeting in the township building rather than the nearby community center, Supervisors Gary Pezzuolo, Mark Sackin and chairman Vito Yeropoli led about 15 township residents on a tour of the severely deteriorating facility. The current building, on Route 224, is believed to have been constructed in the early 1950s. It was added to in 1961 and 1969.

“We’ve been talking about this, wanting this for a long time,” Pezzuolo said.

“The doors are all bad,” Pezzuolo said. All parts of the roof are leaking and rain runs down walls, into overhead lights and soaks the floors, he added.

“The doors, roof and heating units are shot. There is nowhere to start” to make repairs, he said. “The structure is not safe, not sanitary.”

The roof could cave in at any time, he said, and the dampness has resulted in mold in the walls.

The current supervisors office has plastic over the windows, no storage and “lights that work only half of the time,” Pezzuolo said.

“This is past due,” one of the residents agreed.

Pezzuolo said the supervisors have discussed replacing the structure for the past three to four years.

“It’s not worth it to put money into the building,” he said. “It would be too expensive to try to bring this up to code. It would be better to replace it.”

The supervisors anticipate a new structure that would include about 8,300 square feet for office space, a meeting room and restrooms as well as a six-bay garage for township vehicles and one of the municipality’s fire engines.

A new building also would be handicapped accessible, Yeropoli noted.

The supervisors said the new building would be constructed behind the current site, which will be demolished upon completion of a new structure. That space would then be used for parking. Dumpsters, currently at the side of the building, are expected to be moved to the back.

The police department is expected to remain in its current location on the ground floor of the nearby community center.

Pezzuolo said preliminary plans are being drawn up. He expects to start to seek bids soon and to break ground for the new building by March.

He said he believes the building can be replaced for $1.5 million to $1.8 million with little to no tax increase to residents.

According to figures presented by township treasurer Gilbert Lucarelli, borrowing $2 million over 30 years at no greater than 2.5 percent interest would amount to a payment of about $7,900 per month.

“We’re already paying $4,000 per month through the winter for propane,” Lucarelli noted.

If a tax increase becomes necessary, he estimated it would be less than 1 mill and amount to less than $100 per year for the average taxpayer.

Pezzuolo pointed out a road department worker who recently retired will not be replaced, saving the township about $55,000 in salary and benefits.

The township also expects to receive royalties from gas wells to be drilled on or near property owned by the township. He said five wells are anticipated.