Sainato: Sale of former Youth Development Center property would be halted under Senate resolution

HARRISBURG, June 29 – The pending sale of 198 acres in Shenango Township, Lawrence County would be halted by a resolution approved today by the House State Government Committee. State Rep. Chris Sainato provided testimony during the meeting to share his concerns as to why this sale should be halted.

Sainato, D-Lawrence, said S.R. 154, which the state Senate adopted 34-16 Tuesday, was introduced by state Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence. It seeks to rescind the state Department of General Services’ authority to sell the parcel, which includes the former Youth Development Center property, amid controversies over the bidding process and financial stability of the selected new owner, Hira Educational Services of North America.

“Serious questions have arisen surrounding the sales process and whether the buyer chosen by DGS is capable of paying the $400,000 that it bid,” said Sainato, who joined Vogel and state Rep. Aaron Bernstine, R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence, in sending letters to DGS detailing their concerns.

“We need to ensure that correct procedures were followed and that the state has made a wise financial choice in deciding on a buyer for this valuable state-owned property. If that requires hitting the pause button on this proposed deal, that’s something we should do.”

Sainato said that as an elected official, it is squarely his responsibility to act on behalf of his constituents, which he is doing because many of them have voiced concerns about the method used and uncertain financial viability of this transaction.

The resolution moves to the full House for consideration.