YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The first half of Tuesday’s Youngstown City School Board meeting was spent discussing one tax abatement.
But it spoke to a larger issue at hand — of when Youngstown will see an economic boost it needs.
Five board members sat to discuss whether to approve the tax abatement’s.
“Because I was there when the mills closed and I saw what happened,” said Board President Max Kimble. “And I saw how this city changed and we need those jobs. So I’m happy to vote this 75 for 10 years because we need the jobs.”
On the table were tax abatement’s between 75 or 100 percent for 10 to 15 years. In the end, the board approved two abatement’s for businesses.
One was for MJJ Developments for an abatement of 75 percent for 15 years. The other an expansion of an existing company called Fireline at 75 percent for 10 years.
But the board denied one abatement for a student housing structure that was asking for 100 percent for 15 years.
Emotions were high.
“At this stage of the game, no tax abatement,” said board member Jacquline Adair. “None should be approved.”
“I’m willing to give 75 percent tax abatement for development,” board vice president Michael Murphy said. “I think it’s worth it for our city to survive.”
“Right now we have money going out the door,” board member Dario Hunter said. “Miss Adaire colorfully described it as spending money like drunken sailors and I can’t disagree with that.”
Board member Ronald Shadd said the main focus should be on employment, ensuring people who live and work here have jobs.
“75 percent is a good deal and we can’t stop it anyway, so i’m all for it,” Murphy said.
Board Member Michael Murphy pointed out that some of these abatement’s can be approved by city council without the school boards approval.
The back and forth continued.
The board’s next meeting will be Jan. 10. They’ll be discussing the reorganization of their policy and elect a president and vice president.