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Youngstown Council will Consider Repealing and Replacing Various Laws - The Vindicator

City council will consider legislation Wednesday to repeal and replace the property-maintenance code and laws regarding demolition and unsafe buildings, but little actually will change, city officials say.

The new laws are similar to the current ones but are being done to streamline policies and have them in one location, Mayor John A. McNally said.

“The goal is more clarity for the public and the city officials who are responsible for enforcing them,” he said.

The “substance hasn’t really changed,” said Nicole Billec, an assistant city law director. “We had the authority to enforce these laws, but we’re making the ordinances more clear and concise.”

Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, said having city laws on these issues “all over the place” isn’t effective.

“Having them together will make it easier for everyone to find everything,” she said. “It puts it all in a neat package.”

There are additional pieces of legislation that will result in changes to city law.

For example, council will consider an ordinance that allows the city to fine residents with grass or weeds grown in excess of 6 inches, rather than the current 8-inch limit. The proposal also states those limits are enforced only between April 1 and Oct. 31.

Proposals also are more specific on permitting agencies hired by the city to collect on demolition costs, property-maintenance violations and grass cutting, Billec said.

Earlier this month, the city hired Millstone and Kannesohn, a Liberty law firm, to handle notices and collections for those items as well as lot cleanups, boarding building services and delinquent water bills.

To go along with that, the administration is asking city council to allow the board of control to enter into a $102,168 annual contract, starting April 15, with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. to supervise a new program to have about 20 low-income people, between age 18 and 24, cut grass, clean debris and illegal dumping sites, do light landscaping and board up vacant structures.

The city plans to purchase about $175,000 in equipment, including pickup trucks, lawn mowers and weed whackers, for those hired through the Mahoning and Columbiana Training Association, McNally said. MCTA is the administrative and fiscal agent for Federal Workforce Investment Act funds; the association will pay the workers with federal grant money.

The work would be done between June 1 and Aug. 15, he said.

“We’re working with MCTA to put young people to work and give them job training and experience,” McNally said.

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