Youngstown rejects $3.1M finding from state auditor

YOUNGSTOWN — Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said today the city is rejecting Ohio Auditor Keith Faber’s demand that it repay about $3.1 million over 15 years for payments made from the water, wastewater and sanitation funds for economic-development projects.

Despite the city’s reliance on a legal opinion the grant and loan payments were acceptable under Ohio law, the auditor chose to take a different position without clear legal authority to support its position, Brown said.

The city has been negotiating with the auditor and outlined the various economic difficulties facing the city and raised sound legal objections to the auditor’s position, Brown said.

Also, the city proposed a “series of reasonable ways to resolve the dispute through a proposed structured payment plan, a proposed long-term payment plan and a commitment to stop the grant/loan program,” Brown said.

“Despite the city’s best efforts, the auditor would not budge from forcing the city into an unaffordable repayment option that would jeopardize city services and employees,” Brown said. “The city cannot and will not agree to place such a burden on its citizens.”

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