City begins steps to dissolve parking authority

In a continuation of their Monday evening meeting, members of the St. Marys City Council began taking steps on Thursday evening to dissolve the city's parking authority. All members of council, with the exception of Steve Skok and Rick Gabler, were present at Thursday evening's continuation of Monday's meeting, and all voted unanimously in favor of the resolutions regarding the parking authority. Eight resolutions were passed regarding the authority and how the city plans to move forward. Resolution 2011-12 states that "the Parking Authority of the City of St. Marys shall immediately take all necessary action to pay off all of its outstanding indebtedness, with interest due thereon, pay off its outstanding mortgage with National City Bank of Pennsylvania in the principal amount of $181,159.47 and settle all other claims which may be outstanding against it, all to be accomplished no later than Sept. 15."Resolution 2011-13 states that "the Parking Authority of [the City] shall prepare and execute an inventory of all assets of the authority and turn over control of any and all bank accounts and funds in its possession or control to [the City] no later than Sept. 15." Additionally, the authority must "then promptly convey all of its documents and records and all of its remaining assets and property to [the City] by appropriate documents in form acceptable to the City," also no later than Sept. 15. Furthermore, Resolution 2011-14 states that the authority "is prohibited from taking any action or expending any funds relating to any ongoing litigation," and Resolution 2011-15 adds that it must "cooperate with [the City] to the fullest extent possible, so that the transition in the ownership, control and operation of the assets of the authority can be expeditiously accomplished without any adverse impact to any creditors or to the citizens of St. Marys." Moving forward, based on Resolution 2011-16, the authority "is prohibited from engaging in any conduct or expending any money, directly or indirectly, for any purpose other than accomplishing the directives and objectives of [the City] as set forth in Resolutions 2011-12 through 2011-19," and, according to Resolution 2011-17, is "expressly prohibited from taking any action or expending any funds, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of challenging the right of [the City] to take the actions set forth in Resolutions 2011-12 through 2011-19." Resolution 2011-18 states that the City "shall not assume any debt as a result as a result of any of the provisions of Resolutions 2011-12 through 2011-19," and Resolution 2011-19 adds that "all funds and assets required by the foregoing resolutions to be turned over by [the parking authority] shall be held and utilized by [the City] in connection with the operation, maintenance and improvements of [the City's] parking facilities."According to Tony Alfieri, who attended both Monday and Thursday's meetings as a special counsel to the city, the authority only had a 50-year existence under state statute. City Manager Dave Greene indicated that the 50-year term would have expired in 2012 and remarked that council is just expediting the process. Following the meeting, Mayor Sally Geyer gave some insight into the reasoning behind council's decision. "The parking authority is just no longer needed in the city," Geyer said. However, she was quick to note that council's actions on Thursday evening were only the start of a process and that the parking authority is still in existence. "We didn't do away with the parking authority. We just passed some resolutions where they have to turn everything over to the city," Geyer said. The activities previously completed by the parking authority will now be undertaken by the city. A special committee, consisting of council members Bob Roberts and Steve Skok, was formed on Monday evening to examine parking-related issues throughout the city. Greene indicated that the committee's first meeting will occur sometime next week.