Council doesn’t manage streets

Published 11:10 am Friday, September 17, 2010

A handful of Ironton City Councilmen seem to have put their own agendas over the public good, a move that might overstep their duties and could cost the city federal funding.

Three councilmen — Frank Murphy, Chuck O’Leary and Kevin Waldo — continue to push for a traffic signal at the intersection of Seventh Street and Park Avenue, despite the fact that no traffic studies have deemed this necessary and they have been warned that this could jeopardize federal funding.

Ohio Department of Transportation officials have warned that it could make the city ineligible for more than $1 million as part of a signal replacement project.

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Who knows how this disregard for ODOT — the agency ultimately in charge of overseeing the roadway since Park Avenue is State Route 93 — could impact future funding?

The measure was already voted down but apparently that isn’t good enough.

Another key concern is that this push by these councilmen arguably oversteps their authority under the strong mayor form of government adopted by citizens in the early 1980s.

Council is there to legislate laws and appropriate funds. Traffic rules are laws. Locations of signals is not. Determining the locations of traffic signals and stop signs should fall to the mayor and the street department.

The question becomes: Where does it stop? If council is going to regulate traffic signals, should it also start setting street worker hours, determining which roads to pave and hiring police officers?

That is what citizens have empowered the mayor to do.