By kalea hall
All three township trustees said they do not support Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone’s plan to create a joint economic development district in the location of the racino.
Forming the JEDD would enable both Austintown and Youngstown to receive money from an income tax that could be placed on those who work for Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Course and a profit tax on the racino.
“I have a problem with the idea that we finally have jobs coming to our area and greedy politicians immediately want to start taxing the working- class men and women making $10 to $15 an hour before they even get those jobs,” Trustee Lisa Oles said at the trustees’ meeting Monday.
The trustees were all concerned that the JEDD would have negative effects on growing business in the area. JEDD would allow the city to provide infrastructure, such as water- or sewer lines, and the city would then impose a tax for the use of that infrastructure.
“I just think it is bad economics,” said Trustee Rick Stauffer. “When we create a profit tax on new businesses, I cannot see why they would want to come here.”
Trustee Jim Davis said JEDD sounded like a “sweetheart of a deal,” as he and the other trustees were told by the city that they would possibly receive about $2 million a year from the taxation, but after learning more about what JEDD would mean for the community, Davis said he realized the effect it would have.
“Our job as township trustees is ensure growth in the community and by entering into this JEDD we do nothing but deter business from [locating in] Austintown Township,” Davis said.
Davis said it is necessary to still talk with the city of Youngstown about the issue. The trustees were to let the mayor know by the end of this month if they agreed to enter into the JEDD proposal.