With its board in apparent disarray, Affordable Housing of Lawrence County should cease operations, Robert Heath said.

"I voted for it because I thought it was good when it was proposed," the Lawrence County Housing Authority board chairman said Dec. 22. "But a year ago, I lost faith in it.

"If they're not going to build the handicapped housing, it should be disbanded."

Heath was referring to Dale Country Estates. Unveiled in August 2004, the proposed $2.5 million project featured 30 housing units for low-income senior citizens.

The development was to be located on Dale Road in Union Township. The project has not moved forward.

Donald "Ducky" Conti, secretary of Affordable Housing's board, rejected Heath's suggestion.

"Everything is still fine," said Conti, who also serves on the housing authority board. "We're still going forward."

As for Heath and other detractors, Conti said, "All of the sudden everybody wants to becomes Mr. Clean, a guy wearing a white hat," adding it is making him angry.

Conti said he and Affordable Housing's construction consultant, Robert Ratkovich, are running the group's day-to-day operations.

Ratkovich, a New Castle city councilman, is the housing authority's maintenance supervisor and deputy director.

Conti said the recent loss of board member Karen DeCarlo, a city council member, will not prevent Affordable Housing from performing its mission.

"She is going through a bunch of (expletive) now with city council and the budget. She doesn't need another headache on top of what she has now.

"We'll be looking for other board members."

A potential replacement, Shenango Township resident Brian Tanner, said Dec. 22 he would not accept an invitation to join the board.

"I informed them Tuesday or Wednesday that I'd like to do it, but there's no way I can," he said. "At this time I can't, I have way too much on my plate."

Conti said the board will meet next week but the session will not be open to the public.

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