Mahoning commissioners blast SB5, approve county land bank

By Sean Barron


Mahoning County commissioners adopted a resolution calling on the Ohio General Assembly to amend or defeat Senate Bill 5.

During their meeting Thursday, commissioners strongly opposed the legislation, which would drastically change the state’s collective-bargaining laws.

“Ohio is a working state with middle-class working people,“ Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said. “It’s a political move, and I don’t think that it’s fair to the average worker in the Valley.”

Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti predicted that the bill’s passage would further decimate the middle class, locally and statewide.

“Stripping state workers of their collective-bargaining rights is categorically wrong,” said John A. McNally IV, chairman of the commissioners, adding that many Republicans also are against it.

Before expressing their opposition to SB5, commissioners passed a resolution authorizing the formation of the Mahoning County Land Reutilization Corp., which is a land bank that would acquire vacant properties throughout the county and return them to productive use.

A 2009 law allows land banks to take over such properties and forgive current liens while giving individuals, groups and others a chance to convert them to green space, gardens and other productive uses, noted Daniel R. Yemma, chief deputy county treasurer.

The countywide entity would work in conjunction with other land banks such as those in Youngstown and Struthers, Yemma explained, adding that he hopes the larger land bank will be operational by July 1.

The county land bank likely will start with a five-member board, with plans to expand to seven or nine, he continued.

The five members would be two county commissioners, the county treasurer and one representative each from the county’s largest township and municipality, Boardman and Youngstown, respectively, Yemma said.

“We want to represent people in the outlying areas,” Yemma added. “We want them to have a voice.”

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