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Web lawsuit sparks debate

| Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008

MONONGAHELA - The city's lawsuit over ownership of a Web site formerly used by the city sparked a debate among residents at Wednesday's council meeting.

Carla Roman asked council if there was any way the city could work out an agreement with Ken Cole Jr., webmaster for cityofmonongahela.com. She said the lawsuit will cost the city at least $8,000.

The city filed suit over ownership of the site earlier this year and hired Pittsburgh attorney Harlan Stone to handle litigation.

Roman said she did not understand how a city that claims to be financially strapped can find the money to pursue ownership of the Web site. She accused Mayor Bob Kepics and council of failing to inform taxpayers about the status of the suit.

"You always say it is under litigation and you won't talk about it," Roman said.

"It is in litigation," said Kepics. "That's where it is."

Kepics said as soon as the matter is settled the city will make a statement.

Another resident, Barb Petrosky, asked why the city had to hire a lawyer from Pittsburgh when it employs a solicitor.

"The Pittsburgh attorney specializes in Internet law," Kepics said.

Resident Connie Russell defended the mayor and council, telling Roman, "I have full faith in this board of officials that they are doing what's right for the city.

"I think we ought to give them a chance to do this and see what happens."

Russell asked Roman to "be patient and give them a chance."

"I have patience," Roman said. "It's about the monies. I'm just voicing my opinion about monies being spent."

Councilman Tom Caudill, director of accounts and finances, said the city, like other municipalities, has "a non-restricted fund for these type of expenditures."

In other business, it was announced:

- The city has received a $10,000 grant for parks and recreation. Councilwoman Claudia Williams said Karin Porter helped obtain the grant and that other similar grants may be available.

- The city soon will place the initial order for granite park pavers for Chess Park. Anyone who would like to purchase a park paver must contact Williams by Oct. 25.

- Friday is the last day for the farmers' market near Chess Park. The market will be open from 3-6 p.m.

-...Trick-or-treat will take place 5-7 p.m. Oct. 31. It will take place simultaneously with trick-or treat in Carroll Township, New Eagle and Finleyville.

-The city Halloween parade will take place 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29.

- Lindsey Kopko was hired as a part-time police officer.

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