City Council met with Mayor James Melfi and other administration officials for about two hours last month in executive session about land needed for the V&M Star Steel expansion project.
Melfi did not comment as he left the meeting, deferring to council members Thomas Grumley, D-4th Ward and Thomas Seidler, D-3rd Ward, who acted as spokesmen. Neither would say what was discussed, only saying that they were pleased and looking forward to talks Monday between Youngstown and Girard officials in Youngstown.
''We're moving forward,'' Grumley said. ''We're looking forward to negotiations.''
V&M officials want the dispute over 80 acres of land in Girard needed for the expansion to be worked out. Youngstown wants the property transferred to within its borders, but Melfi has balked, saying he is against changing the city's borders. Although he added he is willing to listen and negotiate.
He also has expressed concern that any agreements on sharing revenue and services could be ignored if all the land for the project is in Youngstown.
Most of council met with V&M CEO Roger Lindgren and U.S. Rep. Timothy Ryan, D-Niles, in the offices of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber in downtown Youngstown, and Melfi met with V&M legal counsel in his office.
Seidler said a majority of council was in favor of adjusting the borders when the dispute first surfaced, but he would not say if that opinion has changed. He did say he wants a solution worked out as soon as possible.
''We're going to have to work this out because we want this expansion," he said. "We want this to work.''
Youngstown has been going through the process of acquiring the land for the project. The city also received a nearly $20 million federal Department of Transportation grant to relocate a rail line that was in the middle of the proposed expansion.
V&M was approved Dec. 8 for a 10-year, 75-percent tax credit beginning in 2010 by the state Job Creation Tax Credit Board, which is part of the Department of Economic Development.
V&M already employs about 450 people at the Youngstown plant, but cut between 40 and 50 workers in March. Other workers at the plant were working 24 hour weeks as well.
They purchased it from Cargill, Inc. in 2002. Officials say the expansion could bring up to an additional 500 jobs to the mill and support industries if it goes forward.
V&M officials have been mum about their plans and have not spoken publicly since they were awarded the tax credit in December.