YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This week, we’ve been bringing you discussions with Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown on the underlying issues that are contributing to street violence in the city. Friday, we continue with a look at declining tax collections and federal covid bailout money.
WKBN’s Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford sat down with Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown to discuss the issues.
Brown said most of the city’s general fund budget comes from income tax revenue. The funding is then dispersed to all of the services.
“Our job as a city is to provide service for individuals, and safety services are one, but we have utility services as another. So as the population declines, the number of people paying that 2.75%, we don’t have other opportunities to you know, we don’t get real estate, we don’t have sales tax. So all those taxes that are out there are not for cities and municipalities,” Brown explained.
Brown also discussed conversations to convert or get rid of income tax revenue to become solely dependent upon revenue from sales taxes.
“Well, that’s the conversation we’ve been having with the legislators at the state level, because now those who were enjoying those sales tax or those other taxes that are out there, they’ve got to look at how they’re using their budget. You know, now, if municipalities are going to be a part of that system, the system’s going to have to change, you know, in a totality,” he said.
Brown said he is part of the Ohio Mayors Alliance that has been having such conversations with legislators.
“What’s the least disruptive opportunity for everyone in this process, individuals who are coming from outside to work in the city and going back into their places and townships? But also now, if we’re talking county and sales tax, those things all have to play a part in, how do we still budget balance our budget and then still provide services?” he said.
Brown said another topic of conversation in his meetings with other mayors is now to spend ARP funding.
“That’s a legacy opportunity for us. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity, but we don’t want to make sure that when we spend them, we want to make sure that we can make sure it has an impact on generations to come,” he said.
He said his administration has involved community members in deciding where that ARP money will be allocated. There is a committee and some philanthropic organizations that are involved in those conversations.
Next week, tune into First News at 5 p.m. or visit WKBN.com to see Dee’s conversation with the mayor on the alarming number of children living in poverty and what is being done to change that.
This is the first time that Brown sat down with Dee to discuss issues facing the city of Youngstown. You can read his thoughts on poverty in Youngstown and crime prevention, as well as his visit to the White House, here.