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Austintown rejects economic district with Youngstown

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio - Austintown trustees have officially said they will not work with the city of Youngstown to provide water to the new racino, but will instead look to Niles.

The City of Niles has reached out to the township hoping they can meet the water needs of Autintown's new Racino.

It's a deal Trustee Jim Davis believes has no strings attached.

"The City of Youngstown was seemingly looking for their piece of the pie, what were they going to be able to get out of Penn National," says Davis. "Here the City of Niles is just looking for a water customer and Penn National would be a huge water customer to whoever they get water from."

Recently, Youngtown proposed a Joint Economic Development District with the township. Trustees say the city suggested providing water services in exchange for a share of an income tax and a profit tax imposed on the Racino and its employees.

A Spokesperson for Penn National saw the profit tax as unprecedented.

"We've referred to this as an 11th hour money grab, and that's what it appears to be to us," says Bob Tenenbaum with Penn National. "This is all what we're hearing second hand because we've had no contact at all with the city."

Youngstown's Mayor Chuck Sammarone said he would not contact Penn National until it was confirmed that Austintown was not interested in his proposal.

At that point, the city will offer a development agreement directly to Penn National. Sammarone said the proposal would include incentives based on the needs of the company in exchange for tax income.

"No where in the conversation that I had with anybody did I say I'm not giving Penn National water," says Sammarone. "I'm going to offer them an incentive package, like we do everybody else and hopefully in negotiating an incentive package for development we'll get something back in return."

In order for Niles to provide water, the City Service Director said the project may require running water lines to the Austintown area. A cost estimated at $1.6 million, according to Davis.

Another option would be to tap into the existing lines of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District.

Austintown trustees plan to meet with Niles officials to discuss the option.

Before any commitment is made, Davis says Penn National would have agree to use Niles as their water provider.

 

 

 

 

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