Arno Hill deserves re-election

Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill has worked hard to secure new business after new business in his community, ranging from an aluminum plant to massive power plants and more.

Today, walls are going up on a $140 million HomeGoods Distribution Center expected to employ some 1,000 workers with a $27 million annual payroll. A $950,000 deal recently closed on a property transfer to a local freight company, leading many to now believe Lordstown soon could be home to an expansion by Old Dominion Freight Lines.

Hill will tell you that without the help of tax abatements, many or all of these moves would never have come to fruition in Lordstown.

Lordstown Councilman Robert Bond, Hill’s opponent for the mayoral seat argues, however, that the village is giving away too much in abatements and the village should rein in the amount of tax money it sacrifices to lure new business development. He wants to limit abatements to an average of not greater than 50 percent.

Hill, 66, has been serving in his current stint as mayor since 2012. He previously has held office as a member of council and also served as mayor for about 10 years beginning in 1992.

Bond, 69, is in his third term as a village council member and has also served two years on the village board of public affairs.

On the topic of abatements, Bond recently said this in a meeting with the Tribune Chronicle editorial board: “I think abatements are a good tool. But I think they need to be approached more responsible. I think what sells is location, and when you’ve got the infrastructure, and we do, I think.”

Like Bond, Hill has been clear that he also does not prefer tax abatements — but he recognizes their benefits.

“Development will not come without incentives. What we have gotten so far, they have all had alternative sites,” Hill told the newspaper editorial board.

We believe he is correct. Lordstown has been a bright spot in the Mahoning Valley where new businesses have developed.

He also is right to point out that abatements have delivered development to many aces of otherwise vacant land paying some percentage of property taxes, income withholding tax and, in many cases, financial support to schools in the form of payment in lieu of taxes amounting to millions of dollars.

None of that would have happened without this new development.

Even William Siderewicz, the president of Clean Energy Future that is instrumental in bringing two $900 million power plants to Lordstown, tells us that if not for the efforts of Mayor Hill, the two power plants would simply not be here.

Hill’s business sense has repeatedly proven that he deserves the job of mayor.

That’s why we endorse Hill for re-election as Lordstown mayor.