Girard council president to face primary foe

By danny restivo


Two men are vying for the Democratic nomination for city council president.

On May 7, Mike Costarella, of Dravis Avenue, will challenge Reynald Paolone, of Hillside Drive, as part of the party primary.

Paolone has been a member of city council for nearly 20 years and president of council since 2005. He said his efforts to pull the city out of fiscal emergency, from which the state auditor released Girard last June after 11 years of oversight, is reason to vote for him.

“Things are going very well for the city right now, and I would like to maintain that upward trend,” said Paolone. “Now is not the time for change.”

Paolone, who has been a social-studies teacher at Girard High School for 17 years, said one of his main priorities as council president is to ensure all income-tax revenue from the V&M Star construction project is accounted for. He said making sure Girard received its fair share is critical to the city. Paolone said he also hopes to enhance the U.S. Route 422 corridor so it’s more environmentally friendly and inviting to businesses.

Costarella said enhancing 422 and accounting for all V&M construction money would be priorities of his if he were elected as council president. He said he’s also hoping to entice more businesses that stem from the oil and gas industry.

“I’ve done a lot of studying on this, and we need to keep our eyes open so we can invite more businesses that support the industry,” said Costarella.

Costarella, who holds a master’s degree in computer science and engineering from Wright State University, and a bachelor’s degree in the same field from Bowling Green State University, said he’s been a software architect at Costarella Innovations since 2004.

Costarella said one of his other goals is to digitize council proceedings so citizens can read ordinances and resolutions online. He believes improving technology is a way of getting the community involved in local government.

Two other residents are competing for the party’s nomination in the city’s First Ward councilman race. Steve Brooks, of Avon Avenue, is facing off against Vincent Schuyler, of Hickory Trace Drive. Schuyler served as the city’s mayor from 1992 to 2000 and has been a councilman at large since 2011. Brooks has not served on council before.

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