V&M deal brings millions to city

By Ashley Luthern



City council approved a 99-year agreement with V&M Star on Wednesday to lease land for the company’s expansion project that will pump about $2.8 million annually into the city’s coffers for the next three years.

From the fourth year to the end of the contract, V&M will pay the city about $100,000, said Finance Director David Bozanich.

Mayor Charles Sammarone said the lease payments combined with savings from not replacing most of the 42 city employees who are retiring this year will help avoid a deficit.

“And because we have the money available, we don’t need to rush to lease the mineral rights of city land,” Sammarone said.

The mayor has recommended any surplus funds from the lease payments be put toward demolition and said his goal is to demolish 1,000 vacant houses next year.

Earlier Wednesday, the city’s board of control authorized a final payment of $52,316.55 for 2011 to Girard as part of the income-tax sharing agreement the two municipalities have relating to V&M.

The figure was calculated after Girard officials raised concerns that V&M workers at the former Indalex Inc. site, which is part of Girard, should be taxed at Girard’s 2 percent income-tax rate, instead of the agreement’s tax rate of 2.75 percent, which is split between Youngstown and Girard.

In other council business, councilwomen Annie Gillam, 1st Ward, and Janet Tarpley, 6th Ward, expressed their disappointment with the decision of state lawmakers to introduce a bill to abolish the third Youngstown municipal judgeship.

State Reps. Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, and Ronald V. Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th, co-sponsored the bill this week, and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, said he supports the measure.

“The fight is not over,” Tarpley said, adding she will be traveling to Columbus next week to testify against the bill.

Council had voted 4-3 to ask state lawmakers to keep all three seats. The mayor said he’s glad a decision finally was made.

“Let’s move on to other problems,” he said.

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