Youngstown water commissioner proposes contract with outside firm

Youngstown water towers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown’s water commissioner wants to hire a company to maintain the city’s seven water tanks — five in Youngstown and one each in Boardman and Austintown — and is hoping to move that process along quickly.

The Brier Hill Youngstown water storage tank — inside the Vallourec Star complex — is one of the seven tanks Youngstown’s Water Department must maintain.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Youngstown Water Commissioner Harry Johnson, III asked council to approve a multi-year contract to hire an outside company to maintain the water tanks at a cost of between $450,000 and $750,000 a year.

Johnson said an outside firm was needed because the city doesn’t have the resources or expertise to handle maintenance, emergency repairs and painting of the tanks — all of which could be handled by an outside firm.

Johnson said he wants to stay ahead of maintaining the towers, especially given new concerns about water quality across the U.S.

“We would have a fixed cost, and we would know specifically what those costs would be on an annual basis,” he told council.

Johnson hoped to have the issue approved Wednesday, but the legislation was instead sent to a second reading, with a hearing planned before the Public Utilities Committee.

“We actually started the process back in July, meeting with the company, doing what we needed to do before we brought it to council, so that’s why I was a little disappointed tonight,” Johnson said.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally wants the committee meeting set up soon, so it can be ready for passage at the next council meeting.

“I’d like to move forward, if we could, timely as well,” he said.

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