To Prepare for Virus, Columbiana County Mayors Form Alliance

Editor’s Note: The following announcement was written by Bryan Blakeman, mayor of Columbiana, on behalf of the newly formed Columbiana County Alliance.

By Bryan Blakeman, Mayor of Columbiana
COLUMBIANA, Ohio — During these trying times that we as small cities and villages are maneuvering through during the COVID-19 epidemic, something uniquely positive has been happening. Mayor Greg Bricker of East Liverpool started a conference call with myself, Mayor John Berlin of Salem and Mayor Peter Wilson of Lisbon about three weeks ago. The purpose was to share information on how we as individual communities were preparing for COVID-19.

This has grown into a weekly call with mayors, city managers and safety service directors of the four cities, and has grown to include the village of East Palestine. We have dubbed it the “Columbiana County Alliance.”

We feel that we have unique strengths as individual communities, but when brought together, we can share unique perspectives, ideas, issues and successes on serious issues that we are all facing.

One item that has grown from these discussions is the direct desire that when at all possible, to speak to our individual communities as one voice and with one message. Due to the differences in statutory vs. charter governments, there will be times when the messaging can’t be exact. But where possible, we have a desire for our residents to understand that we are all working together, because we are all in this together.

As such, when possible, we will be sharing messaging to our individual communities that is shared and unified. We believe this will bring some calm to the storm.

Our first message that the communities of Columbiana, East Liverpool, Salem, Lisbon and East Palestine would like to stand united on is our stance on naming individuals whot may come down with this virus. As public officials, we are being asked daily, due to rumors circulating on social media, about who may or may not have contracted the virus.

Truth be told, over the next several weeks, hundreds or thousands of our friends, family, and neighbors will come down with this horrible virus. It has no prejudice and it doesn’t pick and choose. Every one of us is susceptible to contracting it.

As such, when asked about individuals within our communities, our unified message will be the same. We will direct you to contact the Columbiana County Health Department. We as elected officials are not privy to an individual’s private health concerns. We want to thank all of the frontline health care workers who are diligently working to keep us safe and healthy! We are blessed to have them working for us! County Health Commissioner Wesley Vins is doing a tremendous job!

Our second message is that other local governments in Columbiana County are welcome to join us. Please reach out to any community currently in the alliance and we will help you.

It is our recommendation that you follow our state and local health Department guidelines as well as the CDC. Practice social distancing and unless you absolutely need to go out, please stay home.

Although there will be trials ahead for all of us, we are here to help keep our communities safe and will do all we can to weather this storm together. We will continue to give regular updates with a unified message as we believe it necessary. Please pray for our communities and leaders and know that we will get through this together and become stronger through this unfortunate situation.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.