Phillips honored at last Council meeting

Monday marked the final City Council meeting for Warren Mayor Mark Phillips.

Councilman and Mayor-elect Maurice Cashman thanked Phillips for his work over 13 years as mayor and more than 20 of service with city organizations in general and presented him with a plaque in recognition.

“I can only hope that I can follow in your footsteps,” Cashman said, “as I serve the City of Warren.”

Phillips didn’t dwell on the matter, quickly moving forward with city business.

Council was updated on two ongoing matters.

It was announced that on Dec. 4 the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a notice of intent to plug the well on Timothy Koebley’s property on Warren’s south side. A number of members of the public were in attendance in support of the announcement.

Council also received a report on the property at 117 Beaty St. The city has been pursuing demolition of the abandoned property, which was the site of a 2009 murder-suicide.

The city has sought the cooperation of the family of the former property owners and had thought they had finally obtained support for demolition.

City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford announced that is not the case, saying some family members are willing to sign the property over to the city for demolition, while others are not.

“It’s basically a standstill,” Stapleford said.

She noted there is a buyer who has expressed interest in the property.

City Police Chief Ray Zydonik asked council if it would like to take any official action concerning holiday parking, an issue he had brought up before with council.

Zydonik said traditionally the city takes a more lax approach to enforcement on Christmas and New Year’s Day and the evenings before, giving more leeway for time-limited parking spaces and opening the Midtown Lot as free parking.

Council opted not to take any formal action, but noted it would like to see the same informal approach taken as in prior years.

In addition to Phillips, another councilman also marked his last meeting, albeit one with a much shorter council tenure.

Councilman Joe Sprentz, who was appointed in February to fill the seat Christopher Park resigned when he moved out of the city, thanked council for his appointment and city staff for the work they do. Sprentz opted not to run for a full term on council during this year’s election.