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Just what doctor ordered: Merger of city, county health departments

Published: Fri, April 27, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Just what doctor ordered: Merger of city, county health departments

Iam writing in support of the merger of the Youngstown City Board of Health and the Mahoning County Board of Health.

After humbly being elected as a Poland Township trustee in 2011 and then being involved with talks to merge the two entities, I feel this is a watershed moment for our entire region. After listening to the head of the Summit County Health Department at a recent meeting, it is clear that the merger would be a win for our entire area.

I also feel very confident in the leadership of the health boards, outgoing Director Matthew Stefanak, city officials and newly appointed Director Patricia M. Sweeney, that this merger will be a success.

One aspect of the merger that is not discussed much in the political circles, as well as in the press, is the potential for cost savings with the consolidation of facilities.

As it stands now, the city of Youngstown pays Mahoning County to rent space at Oakhill Renaissance Place on Oak Hill Avenue (this will soon be increasing), and the Mahoning County Health Board/Department pays a private landlord to be housed in Austintown, which happens to be much farther away from most parts of the county, especially the Poland/Struthers/Boardman area.

The combining of the facilities to Oakhill or the Market Street Annex would be the most logical thing to do. Not only does this save money for the entire county, it also would help with filling up space at Oakhill and would provide better services for the people.

In a time when everyone wanted a one- stop shop, we have a great opportunity to further that accomplishment.

The names of the landlords may change, but the theory should stay the same. All government entities should be paying rent to the county — not to a private landlord.

In the end, the people will be better served. Eric Ungaro, Poland


1Bman(151 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Yea really, if the Cafaros or Debartolos owned the Austintown Plaza, all the commissioners would be lined up picketing to move the Board or Health. Who even owns the Austintown Plaza?

Seriously though, since JFS moved from the McGuffey Mall to Oak Hill, it has been win-win for a centralization of services and lower costs for ALL COUNTY TAXPAYERS.

Mr. Ungaro is 100% correct. Why does Youngstown and Mahoning County need 2 separate entities and 2 separate rent payments? Merge and centralize in Youngstown. The Austintown Plaza is closer to Portage county than it is to Poland/North Lima!

I sure hope Trafcanti and Rimedio will back this move up because Ditzler will drag-his-feet the entire time because of his Austintown buddies. I hope Mr. Ditzler realizes that he now works for ALL MAHONING COUNTY, and not just Austintown!

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2Ypublius(21 comments)posted 3 years ago

The Saadey's own the Austintown Plaza and probably contributed to Ditzler's campaign for commissioner. All of Mahoning County should be concerned that there is even a debate on the matter.......Why should taxpayers continue to finance a millionaire landlord's business? Mahoning County bought the Oak Hill Center specifically to move all their department's there.

The Board of Health should be at Oak Hill and not in the Austintown Plaza. It makes perfect financial and logistical sense.

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3Jake(112 comments)posted 3 years ago

Since when do "financial and logistical sense" matter when dealing with politicians? Therein lies the problem, and it goes way beyond Mahoning County.

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