YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The city of Youngstown has received about half of its $82 million share of money from the American Rescue Plan. The mayor is still asking for help with how to spend it.
Earlier Tuesday evening, Mayor Tito Brown took his request directly to the people of Youngstown’s west side, many of whom had opinions.
About 50 people gathered in and around a tent Tuesday evening at Youngstown’s Kirkmere Park with ideas on how the city should spend its $82 million in American Rescue Plan money.
Richard Ostheimer wants to see his sewage bill drop.
“The $80 million that’s coming to the city could be invested in the already agreed to over $100 million in improvements to the waste water system,” Ostheimer said.
“But I live in Youngstown, I pay taxes in Youngstown. We need more police on the streets doing their job, please,” said Diana Lucas at the meeting.
“Let me tell you, there is nothing that we’ve decided on that we’re doing. There’s nothing. If anybody tells you the mayor has already spent all that money, there is none. I’m here to tell you,” Mayor Tito Brown said.
There are requirements on how the money is to be spent — supporting public health, addressing negative economic impacts, replacing revenue loss, premium pay for essential workers, water and sewer infrastructure and broadband infrastructure.
Anna Marie Nameth wants to make sure no building around Youngstown collapses.
“Can we use it for any of our immediate areas, maybe senior citizens’ buildings? Anything that we can spend money on other than water and sewer when it comes to infrastructure?” Nameth said.
The mayor says spending money on public buildings would not likely be allowed.
Vicki Hicks says trees from a neighboring yard are hanging over her garage.
“And I’ve been told that, well, we don’t have the money to cut those down. You’ll have to get them cut down yourself. So that’s another bill on the people who choose to stay. Is that something we could use this money for?” Hicks said.
One theme that came up more than once was finding ways to beautify Youngstown.
“To see people just coming and dumping trash — I don’t know what the fascination with that is. What is our litter department doing to clean the city up?” said Esther Moss Rahm at the meeting.
The mayor will continue to hold meetings through at least August. He hopes to have a plan in place on how the money will be spent sometime this fall. It all has to be allocated by the end of 2024.