Niles sets a better tone with water

Niles officials served their residents well recently when they offered to sell water to the racino being constructed in Austintown.

Niles made the offer after township trustees balked at Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone’s insistence that they form a Joint Economic Development District with the city and tax the racino and its employees in exchange for Youngstown selling the water. When Austintown rejected the JEDD, Sammarone criticized trustees for not taking advantage of an opportunity to raise taxes and said the city would find a way to jack up the water cost to match what Youngstown would’ve collected in income tax under the JEDD.

Trustees should be commended for not making such a money grab. Youngstown should be content that it receives a 40 percent surcharge on the water for selling to customers outside the city.

Niles, on the other hand, offered to sell the water. Officials there are not interested in forming a JEDD or increasing taxes beyond the 40 percent surcharge for water. Trustees and racino operators should work closely with Niles, which set a much better tone than Youngstown for what kind of provider it might be in the future.

Racino operators and Austintown trustees would be wise to hesitate before entering into a permanent arrangement with Youngstown, which is placing taxation ahead of economic development.