Cooperation is the key to future development | News, Sports, Jobs

Cooperation among local community leaders and broader regional collaboration are absolutely necessary to promote economic growth.

No one knows this better than the Mahoning Valley organizations charged with growing our region through economic development.

The critical need to overcome local parochialism was well explained by Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber President and CEO Guy Coviello earlier this year in a Chamber publication. Chronicle of Coviello in the May issue of “Valley Business” the magazine described the struggles that our region regularly faces as multiple local governments argue over things like who will provide water or sewer service to new businesses looking to expand here, or multiple layers of bureaucracy that drive months-long authorization processes here that would take three weeks to complete elsewhere.

This harsh reality regarding some of these reasons why our region is struggling with economic growth was well described by Coviello when he wrote that his Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce counterpart said: “That would never happen here.”

Frankly, this is not happening in central Ohio and many other areas because elsewhere public, private and philanthropic organizations have realized the importance of working together.

We suspect the elected officials who govern local communities know this too, but old habits die hard. Too often, parochialism and individualized attempts to ensure business development only within their borders, rather than across our entire valley, region or state, often take over. . Too often they attempt to monopolize potential new development because they fear that if a new business is built outside the boundaries of their municipality or township, it would not be enough as they would lose potential revenue from income tax or property tax, or they will lose ground when it comes to re-elections.

Business leaders know this too. Of course, they are looking for the best deal when planning to expand and build. Sometimes that means pitting communities against each other. But what can be more beneficial for everyone is when there are local government collaborations that can generate a spirit of cooperation between communities, businesses and a region. In effect, it creates a much smoother trading process and ultimately a faster path to a profitable environment for new business.

We are now very happy to see a spirit of cooperation germinating between the subdivisions of our valley.

The latest involves discussions between Lordstown Village in Trumbull County and adjacent Jackson Township in Mahoning County over the possibility of forming a Joint Economic Development District, or JDD, for an area of ​​approximately 30 acres. off Tod Avenue.

Under Ohio law, a JEDD could allow income tax revenue sharing between the two communities, it could include language ensuring that no attempt at annexation would be possible and it also helps to promote economic development. Indeed, services, such as infrastructure such as roads and utilities, security forces and finance, would be worked out in advance and provided cooperatively to businesses coming to the area.

“In 25 years, more and more companies will be in the JEDD with more income tax to share. There will also be more utility customers. Most JEDD agreements have a lifespan of 20 years or more,” Lordstown solicitor Paul Dutton recently explained this to our reporter.

It looks like a win-win situation for everyone involved, largely because it breeds cooperation between communities, rather than competition.

Of course, the idea is not unique to Lordstown and Jackson Township. A JEDD agreement has worked well for the Town and Township of Canfield, where a 25-year district agreement is in place. Additionally, Newton Falls officials recently discussed the possibility of discussing JEDD training with the neighboring townships of Braceville and Newton.

We encourage continued discussions for EDDDS like these or for cooperative and collaborative efforts among all local government leaders.

Additionally, we commend the Regional Chamber and other local economic development organizations like the Western Reserve Port Authority, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and Valley Economic Development Partners who are working to help promote collaboration and the sharing of services – in particular public services. This will serve to send an important message that Ohio and our Valley are truly open for business.

Undeniably, competition between local communities seeking business development, bickering over things like utilities and infrastructure and existing layers of bureaucracy are counterproductive and will set our valley in check by taking business elsewhere.

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