What the city created, it might not have any grounds to dissolve.
At May's meeting of Warren City Council, Councilman John Lewis made a motion to disband the Warren Convention Center Authority.
Uncertain of how to proceed, council tasked City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford with finding out what would have to happen to disband the authority.
"The initiative should come from the authority," Stapleford said at council's meeting Monday night. "Absent any breech of any duty or any use of discretion, the city, at this point, I don't think has any grounds to do that," indicating that the authority was "created independently and seperately by the city."
But Council Vice President Maurice Cashman asked if the authority has no further use; "is that even reasonable" to keep it in place. "Should we be petitioning the authority because we see no reason for them to be there?" he asked.
Stapleford indicated that there would be costs to dissolving the authority, but Cashman was quick to note that there are costs to keep it in place.
"They have no revenue stream at this juncture," Cashman said. "I believe we've been paying their bills and they have to have an audit."
Councilman Sam Harvey asked how much the city spends on behalf of the authority.
"It wasn't a lot, two or three thousand dollars, maybe four. It was small but they have no source of revenue and my view is absent a reason for them to stay in place, we don't need an authority if there isn't any reason for it," said Cashman.
Stapleford asked if anyone on council has approached the authority. Cashman said, "If they have any intent going forward, I certainly would like to hear it."
Acting City Manager Mary Ann Nau indicated that, as the liaison to the authority since 2008, she has been working with Gary Baldensperger, the authority's chairman, who has drafted a letter that will come to council requesting a meeting to discuss the future.
"It should be forthcoming," she said.
Council member Chris Park also voiced his desire to dissolve the authority. "I think it's time," he said. "Councilman Lewis isn't here, but I believe he feels the same way."
Stapleford told council there will be documentation that the authority will be required to sign in order to dissolve. "It would be best if this prescribes amicably," she said.
"If there's no future, and they see no future, both parties should proceed," Cashman said.
"If they can convince us of that (a new purpose for the authority), they should be able to pay us," Park added.
The push to dissolve the authority stems from a letter received by the authority from Tim King, one of the developers on the convention center project, early last month.
In the letter, King said funding for the hotel and convention center, that was to come from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Infrastructure and Facilities Improvement Program, was to come in annual maximum disbursements of $311,000, totaling $5.6 million. He said that those funds are no longer going to be used.
"At this time we inform the WCCA that the IFIP Grant is no longer applicable nor required and there is no need to continue the work with WCCA in regards to providing any financial assistance to the project. In our work to move forward we will provide for repayment of all funds advanced to the WCCA by the City of Warren. We thank the WCCA for their work and participation through a very arduous period," King wrote.
At May's council meeting, Lewis said the authority should be disbanded "at its earliest convenience...According to a statement from Mr. King, it is of no further use. It really is a bad idea for the city to be involved in it. Let the private sector drive the development. Let's terminate it and be done with it."