Council votes to move display in 2012

Based on recommendations presented by Freedom From Religion representatives, the nativity scene will have a new location beginning in 2012 after council passed a motion to relocate the nativity scene to a yet-to-be-determined location next year.

Borough council solicitor Ed Leymarie collected two options that were presented to council Monday evening.  Many grudgingly voiced recommendations to avoid litigation tipping the council vote 4-2 in favor of removing the nativity scene for municipal property beginning in 2012.

Councilman Celli and councilman Chiapetta casted the dissenting votes.

Two options presented to council included leaving the nativity scene and displaying the banner submitted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation or leaving the scene and agreeing to move the display from government property in 2012.

Councilwoman Dici opened up the council comments suggesting the move to a private location citing the boroughs limited funds that would not merit a lengthy litigation process.

DeCarbo echoed the concern of funds if a court case would be merited.

“We cannot afford an expensive lawsuit,” said DeCarbo.  “I urge the council to move this thing,” DeCarbo added.

DeCarbo added that due to previous Supreme Court rulings, although in his opinion incorrect, there is now a law of the land and the council must support the constitution.

Councilman Jones also suggested moving the scene citing the best interests of borough tax payer money.

Chiapetta voiced his opinion in representing the community stating “we should not bow down to the pressure asserted.”

“The council represents the people of the community,” Chiapetta added.

An initial located offered by Councilwoman Mancini was the new stage location on Lawrence Avenue which is owned by the borough but leased to the Ellwood City Revitalization.  Construction is set to begin in 2012 on the community plaza.

Three public speakers had voiced opinions leading off the council meeting, including an FFRF member from Pittsburgh.  Two others urged the leaders of Ellwood City to comply with the constitution and settled case laws and questioned the necessity of advanced publicity for the setting of the Nativity.

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