Published August 18, 2009
Until today, the news updates on the V&M Star expansion project suggested that there had been insufficient communication between the parties, but today's revelation in the Business Journal and The Vindicator that Youngstown and Girard had already in 2008 agreed "to relocate city boundary lines which will be beneficial to the expansion project" suggests Girard may be trying to overplay its hand.
Youngstown agreed to exchange another parcel of land back to Girard in exchange, and "income taxes generated from the approximately 500 jobs related to the expansion would be split 50/50 between the two cities."
No doubt Girard Mayor James Melfi is attempting to look out for the best interests of his city. That's why Mayor Melfi must reach out to the other parties involved and work towards a resolution to any concerns. Today's Vindicator quotes Mr. Melfi taking a rather stand-offish approach: "'I don’t know [about this] firsthand from V&M,' he said. 'If they’re so concerned, I imagine they’ll call me.'"
There's another approach available, as one of the commenters to the article put it:"How about picking up the phone?" The deal offers revenue for Girard in exchange for a certain parcel of land, along with the option to not lose out on land overall. All the costs for environmental remediation (over $5 million) are on Youngstown, and Girard still gets $1 million per year from the deal.
By playing hardball, even after the written agreement last year, Mr. Melfi may be jeopardizing what is obviously an important deal for the region. All parties should continue to reach out to each other and find a solution. We all need it.