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Going to the mattresses
April 10, 2008 - Joe Gorman
Austintown and Boardman will go to the mattresess over Youngstown's Joint Economic Development District proposal, there is no doubt about it.
After Wednesday's City Council meeting where Austintown Trustee David Ditzler said he would fight it tooth and nail, I don't think the city should get any false illusions in their collective heads.
Mayor Jay Williams and other members of the administration spoke of meeting with trustees from both communities and that they respect their opponents' intentions.
That is, in a word, bogus (I can't type the real word).
The city feels this is their best shot to make money, while the townships feel threatened. It is not so much the fear of annexation as it is the fear of paying more taxes on something they already have to pay for. And there is also a feeling in both places that they want nothing to do with Youngstown, which, no matter how hard the city tries, is associated by suburbanites with crime and blight.
I would almost bet my bottom dollar -- if I had one -- that leaders in both communities would rather dissolve than give in to the city's JEDD proposal. The mayor said he did not want to do something both parties may regret -- like file a lawsuit or withhold water service -- but he may not have a choice.
The way I see it, the thing is a standoff. The city can withhold water service, but then who would they sell it to? The townships can wash their hands of the city and their water, but private water service will probably cost more, and then there's the infrastructure that will have to be built to supply it because the city will not let anyone use their water lines.
There has to be some sort of way to meet in the middle, but with the tension involved, finding the middle will not be easy.
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