YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The state auditor’s office has responded to the Youngstown mayor’s statements that he won’t repay state money used for economic development projects.

Mayor Tito Brown made the announcement Thursday, saying doing so would put Youngstown in a dire financial situation.

A spokesperson for Auditor of State Keith Faber’s Office released the following statement Friday:

The Auditor of State’s focus is always on what’s best for the taxpayer. We remain dedicated to finding solutions for local governments, which will benefit taxpayers and the financial health of the entity.

Because the Auditor understands the City of Youngstown’s challenging financial position, we have attempted to work through extraordinary efforts to reach a resolution on the repayment of the sewer and water funds.

We are disappointed that the city has rejected our proposal.

Allison Dumski, spokesperson for Auditor Keith Faber

Auditor Keith Faber is telling the city to repay $3.1 million over 15 years for money used from its water, wastewater and sanitation funds for highly-visible downtown development projects.

Mayor Brown contents that legal opinions provided to the city agreed that the payments were acceptable under Ohio law.