New Castle News

Closer Look

March 14, 2014

Council opposes law association proposal

NEW CASTLE — The majority of New Castle City Council opposes the leasing of city hall space to Neighborhood Legal Services.

The association is offering to pay the city $750 a month to rent space formerly occupied by police department, but the consensus of council is that the amount is not enough.

Last year, the majority of council said it opposed having the association use the space free of charge.

The agency offered a new proposal to council two weeks ago and Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo and members of the administration met with the association’s staff last week to discuss terms. He presented a memo to council at its work session Tuesday, outlining the association’s proposal to lease the 1,900-square-foot space.

The space — which includes five offices, two storage rooms, a conference room, restrooms and a reception area — is undergoing renovations.

Council president William Panella said the association’s proposal figures out to only $4.74 per square foot, and it “doesn’t even cover utilities.”

“I just have a difficult time giving it for $4.74. And we pay for all the utilities.”

He noted the association is currently paying $2,200 a month at the Temple Building.

The association, which provides free legal service to low-income residents on civil matters, faces the closing of its New Castle office and one in Butler because of funding cuts.

Offices in Beaver and Pittsburgh will remain open.

Michelle DeBord, managing attorney for the association, told council two weeks ago that the Lawrence County commissioners have authorized some money to allow the agency to pay rent for four to five months at the Temple Building.

In his memo, Mastrangelo suggested a one-year lease with an option to renew for one or two years. He said he supports leasing the space to the association.

However, at Tuesday’s meeting, he told council it didn’t matter to him whether or not council agreed to the offer. He said he simply was presenting the proposal to council.

“Whether you like it (the offer) or not, it’s OK with me,” he said. “You can say yes or you can say no.”

Councilman Tim Fulkerson echoed Panella’s sentiments, saying the offer is too low.

Councilman Richard Beshero said, “We owe it to see if we can find someone at a higher rate.”

But he said he has a problem with moving a business from a private building, essentially “taking money out of somebody else’s pocket.”

Beshero added that when Neighborhood Legal Services runs out of money and can’t pay the rent, the city is “going to look like the big bad wolf” if it has to remove the association.

Councilman Paul Stefano said the agency provides a good service, but asked whether the city has been marketing the space.

Business administrator Stephanie Dean said the space has never been marketed. Once the renovations are completed, she said, the long term plans are to market it.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Closer Look
  • disability.jpg Disabilities group unveils new icon

    Disability Options Network is joining forces with the Accessible Icon Project. Officials of the community organization, located at 1929 E. Washington St., said its new icon will replace the current international symbol for accessibility.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Auditor: State doesn’t have enough inspectors to monitor wells

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.


    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Independent hopefuls may widen gubernatorial field

    Just when Pennsylvania voters were getting used to the idea of a gubernatorial election showdown between Republican incumbent Tom Corbett and Democratic challenger Tom Wolf, other hopefuls may soon be joining the fray.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • manna.jpg John K. Manna: Measuring the money

    Should we even bother to have an election in November? By some accounts, maybe the results of some contests are already in.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • shooting.jpg Man injured in city shooting

    A man was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital Thursday morning following a shooting on West Lincoln Avenue.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • police.jpg Police: Man pulls gun on construction workers

    Construction workers in Neshannock Township flagged down police Thursday claiming a business owner had pulled a gun on them.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Shooting witness arrested for giving false name

    State police have arrested a second Detroit area man after questioning him about Sunday’s fatal shooting in Ellwood City. DeMarco Dorian Hoskins, 22, of Highland Park, Mich., was the third man in a private car that transported the deceased to look for a hospital. Hoskins allegedly gave police a false identity when they questioned him as witness.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • bridgerepair.jpg PennDOT seeks outside help to make bridge repairs

    State officials are poised to sign a massive deal that will enlist outside help to rebuild and maintain up to 600 bridges, marking the Corbett administration’s latest foray into privatizing key government functions.


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • GALLO_Natalie.jpg County native plays Clinton intern

    Natalie Gallo isn’t an intern, but she’s playing one on the New York stage.


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Coroner: Shooting victim hit by two bullets

    An autopsy revealed a Detroit area man killed in an Ellwood City shootout had suffered two gunshot wounds. Only one was a fatal hit.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage