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Published: Wednesday, 6/27/2007

City council OKs paving job in South Toledo

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council voted yesterday to spend $350,000 to pave two streets in Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's neighborhood.

Also yesterday, council was informed by the Finkbeiner administration that to save money in the general operating fund, there will be no trash collection next week for people whose trash is collected on Wednesdays.

Next Wednesday is July 4.

Traditionally, the city moves trash collection back a day during holiday weeks and pays overtime to collect trash on Saturday. Julian Highsmith, commissioner of solid waste, said the change will save $40,000 in overtime for each of the city's 13 holidays.

Council voted 9-3 to repave Townley Road and Burroughs Drive in South Toledo, honoring a commitment neighbors said was given to them in letters from city administrators in 2000 and 2001. Mayor Finkbeiner, who lives on Townley, has stayed out of the debate over whether the two streets should be repaved.

"We're disappointed because it was supposed to be $696,000," said Jeff Hohl, who lives on Burroughs and has been helping lead the neighborhood effort to repair streets that were last repaved in 1956 and 1961.

District 2 Councilman Rob Ludeman said he would try to find money in the utilities fund to pay for the sewer reconstruction part of the project.

The issue drew comments from two city council candidates, both Democrats, who staked out opposing views.

Lindsay Webb, who is running in District 6, said council should first establish a consistent policy for prioritizing which streets should be repaved. "This process is not based on need. It's based on political willpower," said Ms. Webb, who said she also is upset that the city appears to be cutting corners in its repaving so it can resurface more streets.

Ed Cichy, who is running in District 2, said council did the right thing in responding to the residents' petitions, and said the mayor has discouraged repaving the street to avoid being accused of getting special treatment. "If it was the same street with one resident [Mr. Finkbeiner] not living there, the city would have paved it," Mr. Cichy said.

In other action yesterday, council:

•Approved spending $350,000 to repair the floor and chiller of the Ottawa Park ice rink, matching nearly $300,000 in federal grants.

•Voted to vacate and close Superior Street from Madison to Jefferson avenues and a portion of Frogtown Alley to make way for Lucas County to build a multipurpose arena on the block.

The administration's new holiday trash collection policy occurs after approval of a new labor agreement with Teamsters Local 20, allowing the city to stop paying overtime on weeks of the six "major" holidays - New Year's Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas - in addition to seven "minor" holidays that were not restricted by the contract.

Councilman Mike Craig, who represents District 3, said the policy would fall heaviest on East Toledo, where trash is collected on Mondays.

Two of the six major holidays always fall on Mondays.

People whose trash is collected today won't have trash pickup for two weeks. Those areas include parts of the Old South End, Old Orchard, and central Toledo.

A city announcement said recycling also will be canceled next Wednesday, but that people who are participating in the pledge to recycle to get a discount on the $5.50 monthly trash collection fee will not be penalized or fined.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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