Mayor wants city back on 'radar screen'

Board members also elected 2006 officers.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mayor Jay Williams believes one of the challenges facing the Mahoning Valley is getting the area back on the radar screen in Columbus.
Williams, who was the guest speaker Monday at the annual meeting of the general policy board of Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, said he's noticed that in some press reports from other parts of the state, the Mahoning Valley isn't mentioned when talking about Northeast Ohio.
The mayor, who took office at the beginning of this year, said that he recently attended a gathering of new mayors sponsored by the governor's office.
"While everyone from the governor's office was very nice and very polite, Youngstown was almost mentioned as an afterthought, and I got the feeling that if I hadn't been sitting there, they would have neglected to mention it altogether," he said.
Will be active
Williams said he plans to be an active player in Eastgate, the planning agency for Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and that the area needs to work together.
"I want them to be talking about us not as an afterthought, but because we're relevant," he said.
Williams said he always would like to see Mahoning Valley locations included when the governor's office compiles lists of potential sites for national and international companies to locate in the state.
Also at Monday's meeting, which was conducted at the Chevrolet Centre downtown, general policy board members passed a resolution opposing an Ohio House bill regarding traffic light restrictions.
House Bill 56 would allow traffic cameras to detect violators only if a law enforcement officer is present at the time and location of the violation.
Eastgate's Technical Advisory Committee "has noted noncommitment to the merits of red light camera systems but expressed a commitment to allow local jurisdictions choice in this matter...," the resolution says.
Girard installed a traffic camera to catch speeders last year that brought a class action suit against that city.
Board members also elected Warren Mayor Michael O'Brien its chairman and Sebring Mayor John Smith vice chairman for 2006. Jack Dill, William Kay and Daniel Mamula, the mayors of Campbell, Canfield and Struthers, respectively, were named at-large members.

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