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Youngstown police set to receive 100 body cameras, other weapons

File photo ... File photo Youngstown City Council is expected to OK the purchase of 100 of these Axon body cameras for its police force next week.

YOUNGSTOWN — City council will vote Wednesday to spend $1,269,489 in American Rescue Plan Act money to purchase 100 body cameras and 155 Taser weapons for its police officers. The funding also will cover the cost of storing them and their needed computer network equipment.

The five-year contract is with Axon, a Scottsdale, Ariz., company, and includes 100 new body cameras in both the third and fifth years of the contract with the city retaining the old cameras.

City officials have talked for several months about buying body cameras for its police officers.

In July, city council authorized the board of control to seek proposals from vendors for 150 body cameras even though council members said that was more cameras than needed. As part of that vote, council required the board to come back to it for approval to buy the cameras.

Instead of 150, the city will buy 100 body cameras.

Council also will vote Wednesday to pay $26,000 to Murphy Contracting Co. of Youngstown to build a storage room for the body cameras and $6,500 to Involta LLC of Youngstown to install computer network equipment and video monitoring and redaction equipment for the cameras.

Both of those contracts would be paid with money from the city’s ARP grant.

Also on Wednesday, council will vote to use $7 million in ARP money “to be used specifically and equally in each of the seven wards of the city” that is “separate and apart of any other” ARP money, according to legislation.

Council members spoke at a meeting last week about using that money for projects that would have the biggest impacts in the wards, but disagreed on what the best uses would be.

The city has struggled financially for years, but since last year was awarded about $88 million in federal COVID-19 funds, including $82,775,370 from ARP, which more than offsets its losses.

Also Wednesday, council will:

∫ Weigh an ordinance to loan $2 million for a year, with 0.25 percent interest, to 802 Elm Development, which wants to spend about $2.6 million to establish a food market on the ground floor of the former Dorian Books building, 802 Elm St. on the North Side, and apartments on the upper two floors, according to proposed legislation. There are four apartment spaces on each floor.

The loan would be “utilized to assist with costs to renovate the facility and purchase equipment,” according to the legislation.

Eggbert Properties LLC of Bainbridge is the parent company of 802 Elm Development.

The 12,350-square-foot building is located on the corner of Elm Street and Madison Avenue, across the street from the closed No. 7 fire station as well as the Flats at Wick and the Cafaro House. The latter two are housing complexes for Youngstown State University students with the Cafaro House owned by YSU.

∫ Consider legislation to authorize the board of control to sign a deal with Desmone Architects of Pittsburgh to give it 60 days to work on its plan to redevelop the downtown 20 Federal Place building, owned by the city. Council had decided last week to approve the legislation at its next council meeting.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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