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Panel hires EMS-specific legal counsel

The Warren City Council has elected to retain special legal counsel specifically for emergency medical service issues.

While city staff had previously indicated that outside counsel would be needed to negotiate an extension of a pilot agreement with Pleasant Township, that initiative isn’t the driver behind this decision.

City Manager Nancy Freenock told the council that the manner in which EMS services are provided is an “ongoing concern” and said “given the complexity of laws and mandates” it would be prudent to hire counsel with expertise in that area.

The agreement is not to exceed $6,500.

Was there anything on the city’s plate that brought this about now?

“Not really,” Freenock said. “(We) tried to work something out with Pleasant. That was not renewed at year end. (We) want to have an expect in that area of the law.”

She added that the city was told Pleasant Township couldn’t afford a continuation of the pilot agreement which placed city staff at the Pleasant station during the day, Monday through Friday.

Township officials previously indicated that a three mill tax increase would have been required to fund the initiative or a full year.

Freenock said the initiative is something the city would still entertain.

ADMINISTRATIVE CODE CHANGES

Council also approved jockeying around some city functions from one department to another.

Public Works had some park functions but the administration fell to the Codes Department. With the Codes Department paired back heavily in 2020, parks will now be fully under the DPW banner.

Zoning and Economic Development will also be merged with Codes into one department.

CDBG ALLOCATION INCREASED

Vince DeJoy, the city’s new planning official, told council that the state recalculated the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant funding and in conjunction with another city withdrawing its application for funds “additional funds became available to Pennsylvania cities.”

He said the city will receive an additional $11,443 which will be allocated to a street repair project on S. Irvine St.

The city’s total allocation of CDBG funds now sits at $317,492.

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