Mahoning Co. elected officials reflect on continued battle with blight, homicide statistics during 2019 recap

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Prosecutor Gains also spoke on the number of homicides this year

MAHONING COUNTY, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County’s elected officials met at the courthouse Monday morning to share what their departments brought to the table in the past year.

In addition, some also took time to discuss what’s ahead.

Mahoning County Treasurer Daniel Yemma talked about the county’s continued battle with blight. He says this year the county took advantage of a $14 million grant to destroy or renovate over 1,100 houses in the county.

Yemma said he sees increasing property values across the county. He has taken on similar demolition projects in the past, but none have been this effective.

“The deterioration and the blight and the tax delinquent, dilapidated houses are being removed. We have a long way to go, but it’s certainly been a big step,” Yemma said.

“Not only tearing these buildings down, but also rehabbing some of these properties, being able to sell them to people of limited means,” said County Prosecutor Paul Gains.

Gains counted over 850 foreclosures filed by the county this year. He says that’s usually what holds back developers from destroying or renovating eye-sore properties.

Gains also spoke about the 20 homicides this year in Mahoning County. In 1996, the year before he took office as prosecutor, there were 62 homicides. Gains credits the drop to fair and honest work in his office.

The meeting lasted about two hours as they also heard recaps from the county sheriff and county recorder, among others.

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