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City of Boardman? It’s an idea

Published: Thu, April 24, 2008 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Denise Dick

Township officials also will explore the feasibility of forming a water district.

BOARDMAN — Township trustees reject Youngstown’s joint economic development plan and want to research the costs and procedures of becoming a city, but a second levy attempt appears unlikely before November.

At a meeting Wednesday, the panel asked Administrator Jason Loree to send a letter to Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams rejecting the Joint Economic Development District proposal as written.

The proposal called for an income tax on some township businesses and residents that would be shared by the township and city in exchange for lower water rates for city water customers who live in the township.

“I see no advantages to Boardman in it,” said Robyn Gallitto, trustees chairwoman.

Trustees Larry Moliterno and Kathy Miller agreed.

The panel said the idea of economic development initiatives with other surrounding communities should be explored.

All three also said they believe that incorporation, or becoming a city, must be considered, but more information is needed about the costs involved.

“I think we need to look at incorporation and JEDD proposals at the same time,” Moliterno said.

Miller also asked Loree to ask the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office to determine what is involved with the formation of a township water district and if Boardman could do it as a way to provide water to residents without Youngstown involvement.

All of the issues were presented by Loree last week as a way to potentially address the township’s budget problems. Earlier this year, 42 full- and part-time employees were laid off because of the shortfall caused by changes in state funding and dwindling cash reserves.

Voters last November rejected a 4.1-mill general operating levy that would have generated about $4 million annually.

Also included in the options Loree presented was another levy attempt either in an August special election or in the November general election.

Gallitto said she believes that residents should have the opportunity to vote on the levy, taking into consideration the budget cuts.

But she isn’t a supporter of special elections because people sometimes show up to vote against them and because of the costs.

Loree said a special election would cost the township between $30,000 and $40,000 and that price would increase if a bill before the legislature requiring special elections to use paper ballots gets approved.

Moliterno said he too worries about the costs. He also wants township department heads to determine their staffing needs and what they could accomplish under the scenario of additional revenue coming in to the township and a case where there is no additional money.

Miller said she won’t support a special election levy. She said she may get behind a November levy attempt if steps are taken to follow recommendations outlined in a performance audit completed earlier this year by the state auditor’s office.

Miller listed analysis of personnel and services to see if they’re being used effectively as one recommendation she’s like to see implemented.

In other business, trustees presented proclamations recognizing the work of two police officers.

Detective Doug Flara was recognized for his 18-month investigation that led to the conviction of chiropractor Dr. Gregory Dew. Dew was convicted of sex offenses.

Sgt. Ed McDonnell was awarded for performing CPR and helping to save the life of a man who had collapsed. McDonnell was working a side job at the time.

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