Mayor still hopeful for JEDD at racino

Youngstown Mayor Chuck Sammarone

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Youngstown Mayor Chuck Sammarone said he is still waiting to hear from Austintown Trustees on his plan to help economic development.

Even though Austintown trustees indicated at a meeting Monday they do not favor the creation of a Joint Economic Development District near the new Penn National racino, Sammarone is still working to hammer out a plan saying the city’s track record for economic development speaks for itself.

“I can’t answer for them. I just can answer what we’ve done in the past 20 years here in the city and it has worked. Just drive around our industrial parks. Believe me, I was here when the mills closed,” said Sammarone. “Many companies have located here, and they’re not here because they like Youngstown, Ohio or they like me or other members of council over the years. They like the business incentives we offer.”

Last week, Sammarone sent a letter to trustees asking them to consider using a JEDD to provide additional tax revenue for both communities in exchange for water lines for Penn National.

Austintown Trustee Lisa Oles said at Monday’s meeting placing income and other taxes on new businesses will actually discourage future development.

“We need jobs in this area.  We need to work together to bring more jobs.  Taxation is not the way to do it,” said Oles.

A spokesman for Penn National said the company has not heard from city officials and is still considering its own options for obtaining a water supply.

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