EC council

Borough Council July Meeting Brief

The following is a brief summary of the July council meeting brief: Visitors Over 100 visitors attended the meeting seeking a dialogue with borough officials regarding the electric bill. Visitor Rob Brough requested a town hall meeting so the borough can fully explain the Ellwood Electric Department as well as take steps toward solutions regarding customer service and high electric bills. Council President Connie MacDonald set a date of Monday, Aug. 1. This was a continuation of last Monday’s meeting where over 50 residents attended. Awards/Recognitions Council commended the Ellwood City girls softball team for winning their Class AA section,…


Council, Residents Divided Over Electric Department

Last Monday’s council meeting highlighted a number of potential issues in the Ellwood City Borough Electric Department, namely customer service concerns and the advantages of private utilities over a municipal-owned utility service. As explained in a previous article, Ellwood City Borough has its own Electric Department, which belongs to a consortium of municipalities called American Municipal Power (AMP). The borough uses a consulting group, Utility Engineers, for its purchasing agreements, and in 2015 entered a five-year contract with an electric provider. The borough purchases electricity at a yearly rate of $.08529 per kilowatt (kWh). In turn, it sells electricity to…


In Depth: Residents Protest Electric Rates, Council Proposes Resolution Amending Rates

Over 50 residents attended Monday’s council agenda meeting to protest a spike in electric bills from May to June, forcing the meeting to be moved from council chambers to the auditorium. Council had forewarning of citizen unrest and had already prepared a preliminary resolution adjusting electric rates. Ellwood City Power and Light The Ellwood City Borough has a municipal-operated electric company, Ellwood City’s Power and Light. The borough purchases power from the American Municipal Power Supply [AMP] at a current rate of $.08529 per kilowatt and resells it to Ellwood citizens for a profit. Funds are subsequently transferred from the…


Several Ellwood Property and Business Owners Oppose Proposed Zoning Ordinance

“Over the years, your business district has sprawled and lost purpose,” Mark Pelusio of Town Center Associates said at the beginning of a public hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance for the Ellwood City Borough. In brief, the proposed zoning would divide Ellwood’s core business district into four sub-districts with the intention of creating a pedestrian dominated area on Lawrence Avenue from Fourth to Eight Street consisting primarily of retail and dining establishments. Council worked on the new zoning with the aid of Town Center Associates [TCA], a consulting agency based in Beaver, and an urban development company, Environmental Planning…


New Zoning Ordinance Will Divide Downtown Ellwood into Four Districts

Ellwood City zoning laws haven’t seen an update in many years. Folk singer Bob Dylan was penning his first songs when Ellwood borough councils were penning many of the zoning laws. There was even a sentence that referred to a car wash an an automobile laundry. Council is now in the final stages of approving a new zoning ordinance. Primarily, the downtown business area will be divided into four districts each with specialized encouraged use. Residential areas will not be affected nor will current businesses and residents in the business districts. Rather, each of the new districts will encourage the…


Question Concerning Vouchers Leads to Argument Among Council Members [Updated 10:15]

A question regarding a bill on the list of pre-paid vouchers led to an argument at Monday’s council meeting. Before voting on the list of pre-paid vouchers, council member Judi Dici asked if two telephone bills, both labeled to the same police officer and in the amount of $17.85, were accidental duplicates. Borough Manager Bob Villella responded that he would look into the matter. Later, council member Marilyn Mancini requested that a motion to adopt the Civil Service Rules and Regulations be tabled as she had received her copy on Friday. All members voted “yes” to postpone except George Celli….


Ellwood City Borough Council June Meeting Brief [Updated at noon]

The following is a brief summary of the Ellwood City Borough Council June meeting held on June 20. Announcements Parking on Lawrence Avenue will be closed from Fourth to Eighth Street beginning at 2 p.m. for hosing.* Borough Manager Bob Villella reminded residents to not sweep grass clippings into the storm catchings, as that clogs the system. There will be a public hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance on June 27 at 5 p.m. “The zoning won’t be perfect, but we’re taking calculated, proven steps in developing our downtown,” council member David DeCaria said. The borough clean-up day will be…


Council to Rescind Police Body Armor Policy

Council will rescind the Body Armor Policy at its regular meeting on Monday. This decision comes seven months after the previous council unanimously re-affirmed the body armor policy. When Donald Clyde was mayor (2006-2009), he initiated a policy allowing officers to sign a release form allowing them to not wear armor and contradicting council’s body armor policy. According to Borough Solicitor Ed Leymarie, the police union filed a grievance against the body armor policy, and the court upheld Clyde’s policy. Thus, council will be rescinding the motion. In response to a question from visitor Dave McQuade, Leymarie said the court…


Ellwood City Borough Council May Meeting Brief

The following is a brief summary of the borough council meeting held on May 16: Awards/Recognition Nikol Damato, junior council member, was recognized for her year of service on council. Jozek, Ellwood’s K-9 who is retiring this month after nine years of service, was recognized by council, the Lawrence County Commissioners, State Police and Jarret Gibbon’s office. The K-9 officer, Sgt. Michael McBride, will now work with Jozek’s son, Ranger, who is already certified. Jozek will retire on the McBride Family Farms, after McBride purchased him from the borough for $1. Council President Connie MacDonald presented McBride with 10 dimes…