Youngstown council approved the city’s $171.5 million budget
By David Skolnick
It took council members only slightly longer to approve the city’s 2014 $171.5 million budget than it did to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Council met for less than five minutes Thursday to approve the budget.
The vote was 7-0 without comment from members.
Council received the final budget last week and had a work session Tuesday in which few questions were asked.
“The budget is a living thing,” Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, chairwoman of the finance committee, said after the meeting. “We can change it if we want. At this time, we can live with it.”
The city had to approve a budget by Monday, according to city statutes.
Council met with department heads at hearings that ended March 4 to discuss priorities for funding and projects without having a complete budget in their possession.
The budget includes $4.8 million in capital-improvement projects and equipment purchases.
About $2.6 million from the business-development fund will be used as matching local funding for projects that receive state and federal grants.
The 2014 city budget calls for spending $3.7 million more this year than in 2013’s $167.8 million budget.
However, it would be less this year than 2013 if not for $4.5 million the city is receiving in tax-increment financing for Vallourec Star’s expansion, said city Finance Director David Bozanich.
That $4.5 million is treated as revenue and an expenditure, which increases the city budget, Bozanich said.
Vallourec makes property-tax payments and then has 75 percent of it refunded with the other 25 percent going to the Girard school district.
The facility is in Youngstown with most of the land originally in Girard, and the latter city’s school district receives property taxes.