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MAHONING COUNTY Officials offer help to keep GM



Published: Fri, May 11, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A tax abatement is out, but commissioners can help with infrastructure money.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Even though the Lordstown General Motors plant is north of the border, in Trumbull County, Mahoning County commissioners say they'll do what they can to keep it there.

"Sometimes we forget that job retention is just as important as job creation," said Commissioner Ed Reese.

Reese said Mahoning commissioners should follow the lead of their Trumbull colleagues, who recently approved a 100-percent tax abatement for Android Industries, which plans to build a plant that would supply engines to the GM assembly plant there.

The plant, to be built on Ridge Road near the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township, is expected to employ about 185 people within a year. The abatement was approved in late April by Trumbull County commissioners and Vienna Township trustees.

The move comes at a time when Mahoning Valley officials are trying to persuade GM executives to keep the Lordstown plant open.

Work together: "I think it's really important to help out in this and show Detroit that we can come together on this," Reese said. "That plant is such an important part of our Valley. It's the main thrust of our economy."

He said many county residents work at Lordstown, so commissioners have a vested interest in retaining those jobs. Austintown has a particularly high concentration of Lordstown employees, he said.

Commissioner Vicki Allen Sherlock said the loss of the plant would devastate the local economy, so she says Mahoning County should do what it can to prevent it.

What county can do: Mahoning County can't offer tax incentives because the plant is in Trumbull County, but Reese said commissioners can offer other help like money for infrastructure improvements, if needed.

"They have to tell us how we can help them," Reese said, noting that it's important for the two counties to work together. "Regionalization is so important."

bjackson@vindy.com




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