Ohio Governor Mike DeWine met with local leaders at Covelli Enterprises in Warren on Friday, marking his first visit to the Valley since taking office.
One of the meetings held had 22 area politicians, including mayors, state legislators and county commissioners. Before the meeting, DeWine also met privately with select individuals.
Sam Covelli introduced the governor at the start of the day’s meeting.
On the situation with GM Lordstown, DeWine said the company is still making no commitment that it will build another product at the plant.
He said the state is committed to do whatever it can to help GM or other companies that would like to use the plant.
The meeting was held for the mayors of the Mahoning River quarter, which are cities located along the river. One of the newest ideas brought up was the creation of a Mahoning River State Park.
The park would be created somewhere along the Mahoning River. DeWine said he will bring in the director of ODNR to look into the idea.
“I can’t make any commitment about that but I would love to see that. I think that would be something that would be great. We’re not there yet. We have some other things to do. We have a few dams to take care of,” DeWine said.
They also discussed House Bill 70, which allowed the state to overtake Youngstown City Schools. DeWine said he and the state legislature are looking into the idea of retooling the bill. He did not give specifics on any changes that would be made.
All of the mayors had the chance to give their thoughts on what they would like to see done in the future.
Lowellville mayor Jim Ludiciani said towns like his need better WiFi. Campbell mayor Nick Phillips said he needs money to tear down abandoned commercial properties.
Girard Mayor Jim Melfi said he cannot wait for someone to want an old industrial property to get it cleaned up. Youngtown mayor Tito Brown said his city is lagging behind.
State Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan asked the governor not to forget low-income children. DeWine responded that his administration plans to spend more to help Ohio’s children service agencies.
DeWine also discussed his plan to raise the gas tax by 18 cents per gallon. He said one of the biggest surprises to him when becoming governor was finding out how bad the roads actually are and how little money the state has to fix them.
ODOT released a list on Friday indicating how much money every community in Ohio will get from the tax increase.
Trumbull County would increase from $5.7 million to $9.9 million.
In Trumbull, Warren would increase from $1.2 million to $2 million, Niles would increase from $658,000 to $1.1 million, Girard would increase from $438,000 to $758,000, Hubbard would increase from $296,000 to $512,000 and Cortland would increase from $218,000 to $486,000.
Mahoning County would increase from $4.9 million to 8.7 million.
In Mahoning, Youngstown would increase from $1.8 million to $3.2 million, Struthers would increase from $356,000 to $615,000, Canfield would increase from $324,000 to $560,000, Boardman would increase from $270,000 to $605,000 and Austintown would increase from $238,000 to $525,000.
Columbiana County would increase from $3.2 million to $5.5 million.
In Columbiana County, Salem would increase from $410,000 to $719,000, East Liverpool would increase from $322,000 to $517,000, Columbiana would increase from $241,000 to $417,000, East Palestine would increase from $182,000 to $314,000 and St. Clair Township would increase from $117,000 to $220,000.