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Racism and preferential treatment given to those of a certain socioeconomic status — perceived or actual depending on who is talking — are longstanding issues in Youngstown.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally Finance Director Dave Bozanich voted to defer purchasing equipment for the city’s high grass cutting program.

Tempers flared at a finance committee meeting in Youngstown Wednesday night.

City council members and the mayor engaged in a sometimes heated debate about a grass-cutting and property-cleanup program that included accusations of racial bias and preferential treatment to certain wards.

In 2002, Jay Williams, Youngstown’s former community development director and former mayor, along with Youngstown State University and an urban development firm out of Toronto, Canada created a plan to set Youngstown on a path to fully realizing its downsize, embrace it and move forward with a positive outlook.