The Fund for Warren’s Future


Here is the full text of the press release announcing the Fund for Warren’s Future. I will be writing about this in much more detail soon.

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Prominent local businessmen and City Government form the Fund for Warren’s Future

(October 17, 2017)

Two prominent Warren businessmen, Sam Covelli, C.E.O. of Covelli Enterprises, and Anthony Payiavlas, President and C.E.O. of AVI Foodsystems Inc., are joining forces with Mayor Doug Franklin and the City of Warren, to create the Fund for Warren’s Future (FWF or “the Fund”). The purpose of the Fund will be to initiate, promote and support economic development in the city of Warren, Ohio. The goals of the Fund are:

  • To encourage direct purchase of, or investment in, industrial, commercial and residential properties in the city of Warren
  • To encourage people to visit Warren in order to build on its position as the entertainment and dining capital of Trumbull County
  • To promote and support the growth of entrepreneurial activity in Warren through educational programs and infrastructure development
  • To create a proactive culture in Warren which understands that growth is critical to our future

The funds will be on deposit with, and managed by, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. Projects will be selected by a Board comprised of Mr. Covelli, Mr. Payiavlas and Mayor Franklin. Dennis Blank, a Warren resident and the Publisher of Warren Expressed, will serve as the Board’s administrator. Board members and Blank will serve as unpaid volunteers.

The FWF will not invest in individual businesses. All funds will be distributed through non-profit organizations recognized as such by the IRS.

Capitalization of the Fund will be a two-step matching process; step-one will raise $100,000. $50,000 will be invested by the City of Warren; Messrs. Payiavlas and Covelli have agreed to match the City’s investment with a $50,000 investment of private capital.

City funds have already been appropriated and are on deposit in a City “Economic Development” account. The Fund for Warren’s Future, and the City’s financial participation, were supported by a unanimous resolution passed by Warren City Council on July 26, 2017 (#4624/17).

In step-two, Messrs. Payiavlas and Covelli will jointly invest up to an additional $50,000 of  matching funds, equal to contributions raised from other individuals, businesses or institutions. If this incremental fund-raising effort is successful, the fund will have total capitalization of at least $200,000.

The Board has identified nearly twenty projects that meet the FWF’s objectives, however, the Board will host community outreach meetings in order to receive input directly from Warren citizens.

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Update on tax increase


As promised, we will continue to update you on the results of the 1/2% city tax increase implemented this year. I recently attended a City Council Finance Committee meeting, and later met with the key players from the Citizens Committee which has been advising the administration on use of those funds.

I’m happy to report that all is going well. The generally financial condition of the City is the best it has been in more than a few years, and, in the view of the Citizens Committee, all promises related to use of the funds are being kept. Specifically:

  • The Fire Department is up to full strength and funds are being set aside for the date when the federal subsidies expire
  • Police hiring is lagging due to a shortage of qualified candidates; however, a new Civil Service test will be held shortly and the effort to bring the WPD up to authorized strength continues
  • The city is on target to spend at least a half million dollars on street repairs in 2017, as planned
  • An effort to initiate an economic development program for the city is also underway, and concrete results of that effort should be announced within 30 days
  • Through August, the city budget has operated in the black for the year and we currently have a cash balance of over $1.5 million.


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Important article


800x-1Normally, if there is a good article someplace worth reading, we just post a link on Facebook, but I came across something yesterday that deserves it’s own post. Bloomberg posted “There is Something the Matter with Ohio Too” that we should all read.

Sadly, our Buckeye homeland is lagging the nation in too many ways that are holding us back from growth. Ohio is steadily slipping into the ranks of lessor states, and the reasons go beyond the shrinking of rust belt industries. We lag in education, we lag in immigration and diversity, and we lag in technology. The one place in Ohio that doesn’t lag in these respects — Columbus — is thriving.

We can’t move forward if we don’t understand why we are where we are, which makes this worth reading.

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Another secret


Its-a-Secret-300x300The overarching rule of local government is that everything is a secret unless you can pry it out of them. I called Trumbull County Assistant Prosecuting  Attorney William Danso today, to follow up on TC Engineer Randy Smith’s request to be freed from the burden of assisting the TC Planning Commission in their efforts to spend taxpayer’s money efficiently. Smith had copied Danso on his letter to the County Commissioners announcing his intended session from the rest of Trumbull County government.

Mr. Danso was very pleasant, but informed me that he could not tell me what his response was to Mr. Smith, siting “attorney-client privilege.”

I was surprised at this response and asked if his response wasn’t public business that any citizen has the right to know. Danso suggested that I ask Mr. Smith, which I suspect would not be my most productive course of action. He also stated that legal ethics were of a “higher standard” than government business, which led me to remember a host of lawyer jokes.

Later I spoke to another elected official about Danso’s position, who said this was, at most, a short term set back, and that the information is certain to become public very soon. We’ll see. I’ll keep trying.

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“Double D” to the rescue


13000253_BG1We hadn’t planned to make Randy Smith‘s hissy fit regarding the Trumbull County Planning Commission an ongoing series, but the situation just keeps getting weirder, the way that only Warren-Trumbull County politics can be. Smith is attempting to withdraw the county Engineer’s services to the Planning Commission and is trying to get the County Prosecutor’s office to give his ridiculous plan legitimacy.

Now, in steps former County Engineer David DeChristofaro. According to a recent Tribune article he is offering his services to the PC, free of charge, if Smith’s plan succeeds. The Tribune quotes him:

“DeChristofaro stated in an email to Nuskievicz that he “could not believe Randy Smith would even consider refusing to assist your office with engineering or surveying services needed for the good of the public.””

Of course DeChristofaro has had his own issues. Again, quoting the Tribune:

“Although the record of the conviction was expunged last year, DeChristofaro pleaded guilty to a charge of felony theft and misdemeanor conflict-of-interest in July 2011. He was accused of using materials from his county office to send thank-you cards and Christmas cards to Democratic precinct committee members.”

It looks like we’ll follow this for a while. There is no shortage of people volunteering other horror stories about Smith’s “management style” and his lack of concern for taxpayers priorities. We want to note that we’ve never met either Smith, DeChristofaro or Trish Nuskievicz the head of the Planning Commission. Our only interest is good government, and this is a stunning example of its antipode.

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