YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As the City of Youngstown tries to reduce gun violence, it faces tough choices on how to pay for public safety and other services needed in the 21st Century.

Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown recently sat down with First News to talk with WKBN’s Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford.

Brown was one of six mayors recently invited to the White House. He was there as President Joe Biden announced a plan to provide low-cost high-speed internet access to more customers in the Valley.

The mayor talked to Dee about that visit.

“First of all, it was a great opportunity for me, personally, but I think it was also a great opportunity for Youngstown to be on the maps in the hearts and minds of those at the federal level. And I believe that what we need to make sure is that we are on the hearts and minds of everyone at the federal, state, as well as the local level,” he said.

He added that it was also an opportunity for him to network with other mayors across the nation to discuss issues facing the city of Youngstown.

When asked how the city’s budget would address rising crime in Youngstown, Brown said the majority of the general fund budget is being spent on safety services.

“The number of people who are actually out there committing the crimes is a smaller number,” he said. “But we have to spend a lot of our time on those small percentage of individuals who are out there, and what we want to do is to continue to identify those individuals and remove them from society or give them an option. You know, everyone says ‘Well, put them in jail.’ We talk about actually getting individuals the opportunity.”

Brown cited a program that connects individuals with social service agencies in order to help them obtain their driver’s license and advance in the workforce.

“So, we focus on not just putting them, incarcerating them, but also putting them in a productive life,” he said.

In an interview that aired Tuesday, Dee spoke with Mayor Tito Brown about poverty and other issues in Youngstown.

Friday, you’ll hear more from the mayor on the decision-making process for spending American Rescue Plan dollars on the city’s future. Check for that interview as well as First News at 5 p.m.