Sunday, January 25, 2009
DISCUSSION: JACKSON TOWNSHIP STOPPED IN EFFORT TO GO PROVINCIAL?
Jackson Township Board of Trustees president John Pizzino and the Township's fiscal officer Randy Gonzales had to be two surprised dudes when they learned that city of North Canton administrators filed Type I and II annexation petitions with the Stark County Commissioners on Friday (January 23, 2009).
A person that works for Gonzales and, of course, Canton Municipal clerk of courts Phil Giavasis?
Yes, North Canton councilman Pat DeOrio.
Some area officeholders speculate that one of the reasons Gonzales wanted Councilman DeOrio hired by Giavasis was to keep tabs on Mayor David Held of North Canton and his administration. If that was the case, then the strategy didn't work.
Witness: Friday's annexation move.
Again, the Jackson folks did not have a clue!
Held does tell the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) that he kept certain key members of council (Revoldt, Snyder and Kiesling) informed, but that plan was an administration plan that has been in the works for some time. Held did not mention DeOrio as being a person with inside knowledge.
All along (while formulating the annexation backup plan) North Canton has been negotiating with Jackson Township.
The hang up?
The 99 year promise not to annex from Jackson Township unless approved by the Jackson trustees.
Held says the deal "killer" (the Report's label) part of Jackson's proposal is the 99 year thing. Moreover, he describes the Canton/Jackson Township deal as being a move by Jackson Township to stay provincial. In other words, Jackson Township is worried about be swallowed up by surrounding municipalities: Canton, North Canton and Massillon.
From Canton's side, it seems as if Councilman Bill Smuckler is the big enthusiast and apparently has been bringing his fellow council members along. In local media reports, Mayor Healy (who, once, clearly opposed the move) now says he is uncertain.
But he need not worry.
The Report believes the annexation move by North Canton is a checkmate of Trustee Pizzino and Fiscal Officer Gonzales. And, in the opinion of The Report, for the betterment of Stark County- and - certainly for Canton. Why would Canton want to tie itself up for 99 years?
Held tells The Report that the annexation does not foreclose working with Canton, Jackson Township and Massillon in a cooperative, collaborative way that has positive results for all the players.
The Report's take on Held's reaction on any 99 year proposed agreement is that it would be irresponsible for government officials of any entity (are you listening Bill Smuckler and Canton council?) to give away growth and expansion possibilities.
It appears to The Report that Jackson Township officials have been outfoxed by the North Canton administration. By being reactive and not proactive, it seems that Jackson officials will be in one pitched battle after another with surrounding area municipalities. If the 99 year plan is any indication of "realpolitik" thinking in Jackson, then Township officials need to go out and get new thinking caps.
The Tuscarawas Township trustees seem to have the same mentality as Jackson trustees. Just take a look at the archives of The Massillon Independent. Celeste DeHoff et al have been in a prolonged battle with Massillon Mayor Cicchinelli for quite a while now.
Township government is an antiquated form of meeting the needs of citizens. Enlightened trustees should be "seeing the handwriting on the wall" and working with neighboring villages and municipalities "to think outside the box" to more efficiently and effectively to meet the needs of Stark County's township residents.