Collaboration better way to grow economic development

Both Braceville and Newton townships made official last week their opposition to plans by Newton Falls to annex township land into the village.

Newton Falls wants to take about 445 acres from the two neighboring townships, all around the state Route 5 and Interstate 80 interchange. The village claims it could more successfully develop the acreage because it has the ability to provide utilities and services not available now. Those include water and sewer service, coupled by police, street maintenance, ice and snow removal, and storm water utilities. These services have been described by Village Manager Jack Haney as “pretty standard” of what is provided to any village property.

But Braceville and Newton Township remain opposed to the annexation, and Braceville officials even have said they’d be open to discussing the possibility of working together on growth and development.

We say, why not work together?

It’s true we consistently call for regionalized efforts in government operations and economic development. That’s not to say, however, that forced annexation is the way to go in this case.

Rather, a more diplomatic approach would be to collaborate in a joint effort to offer utilities to residents from the village and shared income tax on this undeveloped township acreage for all three subdivisions. Cooperative efforts to create a Joint Economic Development District is a more logical approach that could mean a win for all three communities, not to mention potential businesses that are looking for a great location near a highway interchange.

Before moving forward with a forced annexation, Newton Falls council members should call upon their neighbors to initiate conversations about ways they can work together.

In turn, Braceville and Newton Township should accept the olive branch and approach the talks with open minds.

Diplomacy among neighbors would go a long way for all of us in the Mahoning Valley — especially if the efforts would trigger new economic growth.