Council reiterates its loan agreements

Warren City Council approved a number of formal agreements to repay state loans in anticipation of closing a PENNVEST loan for an upcoming sewage project.

A formal ordinance agreeing to repayment of the PENNVEST loan was approved in anticipation of closing on the agreement.

The city is set to demolish the majority of the sewage plant and replace it with an oxidation ditch system as well as an updated headworks/control building, updated pumping stations and installation of a sludge dewatering system.

A formal ordinance agreeing to repayment of Redevelopment Assistance Fund money granted by the state was approved.

The repayment is a formalization of the process the city approved to use to replenish a revolving loan fund started with a $500,000 Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant.

The city initially had lent the money to GRO-Warren under an agreement to repay the funds over 20 years at 4 percent interest.

With the dissolution of GRO-Warren and the crumbling of plans to develop an Allegheny Center for the Arts building on Liberty Street, the city was forced to step in for the organization and fulfill the repayment agreement itself at a total 20-year cost of $727,176. The move was approved by council in July 2012.

A formal ordinance agreeing to an annual $45,327.58 payment on a $213,292 loan for a new street sweeper was approved.

A loan for the street sweeper was approved in February to be repaid over five years at a 3.13 percent interest rate.

The new equipment replaces the city’s 13-year-old street sweeper, which had cost the city approximately $40,000 in maintenance over the previous three years.

Solicitor Andrea Stapleford said the ordinances “memorialize” repayment agreements and are a necessary step before closing the sewage system loan from PENNVEST.

All of the ordinances were passed in one vote unanimously.

Council was also informed Community Development Block Grant funds from 2010 remained.

The funds were originally earmarked for work on Oak Street, but approximately $31,232 remained after project completion.

Council unanimously approved a resolution asking the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for a revision of the block grant to allow the city to use the remaining funds for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance work.

Council also approved an agreement with Horizon Club Tours to provide transportation for the summer playground program’s trip to Darien Lake on June 27. The measure was approved 6 to 1 with Councilmember John Lewis casting the dissenting vote.