New Steubenville Mayor sets tone at first council meeting
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio —
Tuesday marked the first city council meeting in 26 years where Domenick Mucci wasn't the sitting mayor.
Before Steubenville Mayor Jerry Barilla struck the gavel to start his first meeting as mayor, he sat down with NEWS9 to discuss his plans for 2018.
The Steubenville mayor's office sat bare to start 2018.
"I'm usually a guy that likes to have pictures on the wall and family members showing on the shelves and what not,” Mayor Barilla said.
A blank slate for him to decorate to his liking - symbolic of the city of Steubenville.
"As I look forward to helping the city decorate itself as well,” Mayor Barilla said. “To improve its appeal, its look, the environment, the equality of life for our citizens here."
Barilla believes improving the city aesthetically will help deter crime,
"As long as we keep it presentable, clean, well lit; people respect it,” Mayor Barilla said. “I think if we can start that way up on the hilltops, getting the allies cleaned up, getting the vacant lots manicured."
He shares a similar mantra for his hopes to revitalize downtown
"People get their image of our city, not from the suburbs, but from the downtown,” Mayor Barilla said. “When they see downtown, that's the image they take away with them of Steubenville, Ohio."
Bringing in new business was a focal point of his campaign. It doesn’t start with the business, but rather those who frequent them
"If you have people, business follows people,” Mayor Barilla said.
Barilla believes adding more events similar to the Nutcracker Village and Dean Martin Festival will get the job done.
"The theme is if you have 250 activities happening during the year in your downtown, you're going to get business to come there,” Mayor Barilla said.
The Steubenville native acknowledges that these tasks won’t be accomplished by him alone
"It takes teamwork, teamwork, teamwork. It's not about ‘I’ and ‘me’ it's about ‘us’ and ‘we’,” Mayor Barilla said.
Which is why he said he wanted to set the tone at Tuesday evening's city council meeting.
"I want council to run with dignity, responsibility and fairness to all,” Mayor Barilla said. "We need to project a positive image of responsible people. We represent the people, and we have to carry ourselves in that manner."
His first meeting ended after appointing council members to their respective committees.
Mayor Barilla said he is optimistic about 2018.
"We're never going to go backwards,” Mayor Barilla said. “We're always going to look forward. It's always positive. I don't care what it is, we can figure it out."
Also making his debut on city council for 2018 was Craig Petrella. Petrella was elected to the 2nd ward council seat this past November.