Millions in state dollars could bypass the Mahoning Valley leaving residents short changed, but efforts are underway to re-route money to the area. At the election polls residents from the Valley overwhelmingly supported the Third Frontier Job Ready Sites Program.
It was touted that approval of issuing state bonds would be an economic engine for all of Ohio, but Senator Bob Hagan and State Representative Ken Carano say criteria for disbursing the money leaves out economically distressed communities.
"We have found out since then that the government and Department of Development have restricted the use of these job site development funds to areas that are anywhere from 100 to over 150 acres, which would preclude some development of areas behind us," says Senator Hagan.
"We're very concerned now," says Representative Carano. "Promises made to us would have taken care of this area because of the restrictions will end up going to Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati again."
The ballot language voters approved lets the Governor and Lt. Governor make up the criteria to qualify for the state dollars. In addition Hagan and Carano question why 40% of the money will be granted to cities before the November election, when the money is supposed to be spent over seven years.
Mayors from around the Valley are working with state lawmakers calling on the Governor and Lt. Governor to change the way the dollars are disbursed. Right now cash strapped cities are not able to come up with matching funds which means millions for potential economic development would by pass the area.
Hagan and Carano say for the first time Youngstown, Struthers, and Campbell are united in the fight for our Valley's fair share of economic dollars.