YOUNGSTOWN — City council voted Wednesday to approve ordinances for the $350,000 purchase of two new snowplows and equipment that will arrive in the city on or before Jan. 1, 2021.
During Monday’s finance committee meeting, Building and Grounds Commissioner Kevin Flinn said the snowplows will be used to clear Madison and Himrod Avenue expressways. Once those are clear, the trucks will help clear other main roads.
The Vindicator reported in March that two plow trucks arrived in the city that were purchased in 2018. The city currently has 18 snowplow trucks in total. Besides three new trucks that arrived in March, much of the fleet is from 2008 and beyond the end of an 8- to 10-year life expectancy.
City council also approved an ordinance for the $204,800 purchase of another truck and two dumpsters for the sanitation department.
The purchase will aid city sanitation drivers to safely collect discarded mattresses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a significant increase in discarded mattresses so far this year with more than 1,000 mattresses collected since March.
Interim Director of Finance Kyle Miasek told the council that the city currently has a $2.6 million income tax deficit that is expected to increase by the end of the year due to lower income tax collection.
However, the city is expected to be in surplus by the end of 2020 because of CARES Act funds from the state, workers compensation rebates from the Bureau of Workers Compensation, employees taking furloughs and reduced spending throughout the city’s departments.
Miasek said the surplus will allow the city to prepare for 2021, where the city expects uncertainty including reduced income tax revenue as a result of a reduction in local jobs.
“I am very confident that with the close of 2020 we will be in balance,” Miasek said.
A temporary 2021 budget will be presented at the next city council meeting on Dec. 2. A special meeting is also being planned before the end of the year to discuss the 2020 budget.
ADDRESSING THE CRIME INCREASE
Reginald Christian, a Youngstown resident, addressed city council to ask what plans have been made to reduce violence in the city.
Councilman Julius Oliver, 1st ward, said a second community meeting was being planned to discuss the city's spike in crime and what the community can do to help.
In October, Oliver took part in an in-person and virtual community event at Ohio Urban Renaissance, the former Buckeye Elks Youth Center, to discuss the increase in crime in the city.
The meeting gave community members a chance to share their concerns on some of the bigger problems the city faces. Community members also discussed potential solutions
“We don't want to be always reactive, but we want to try to get into the vein where we're proactive and trying to prevent crime, which is going to take a community problem-solving session,” Oliver said.
Oliver said he wants to take the community’s ideas and plans to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees.Councilwoman Basia Adamczak, 7th ward, said people can also watch the live streams on Youtube of the safety committee meetings which have focused on the increase in crime and potential solutions.