The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) believes these are particularly hard times for the village of Hartville.
Mayor Ed Tucker is scrambling these days to get state and federal (can you believe it?) money to improve and update the villages' sewer plant. Right now use is at 97% and the rates are soaring.
In early January, Tucker told the Akron Beacon Journal that he was opposed to reworking the sewer system because it cost too much. Here is a Google summation of Tucker's position as of January 8, 2009:
... Hartville mayor opposing sewer work. Proposed $1 million design for $6.4 million plant expansion too costly, says Tucker, who favors repairsInterestingly enough "patch and repair" is what Tucker favored when in challenged former Mayor Beverly Green in 2007. Green worked hard to get the village up-to-date on its sewer system. It is poetic justice that the problem is now Tucker's.
Why would The Report say parenthetically "can you believe it?" Because when Republican Ed DiGiacomo was mayor from the 1980s through the mid-1990s, the village turned down the opportunity to obtain Community Development Block Grant money due to the federal "strings attached."
But things are different in Hartville these days. The Report has been told that Longaberger is down to precious few employees in Hartville and, of course, the storied Schumacker Lumber is no more. However, there is one bright spot: Scott Process Systems, Inc. It is said to be growing and probably is the main reason Hartville is staying afloat these days.
Since Tucker and his administration are besieging Ohio and Washington officials for a handout, it must be that Tucker has converted from a "patch and repair" man to an "expansion man."
The price tag for expansion will be high. When Green was mayor, a resident's sewer bill was at $9.00 or so, increased to $17.00+, then to $27.00+ and now council is considering an increase to $33.00+. How far off can $50.00 a month be?
The political warfare continues in Hartville and the sewer issue is only one of many fronts that the political battles have been and will continue to be waged.
Tucker and his political cohort ousted Bev Green and her friends on council. Now, The Report understands, Tucker and his political friends are blaming Green and her supporters on council for everything that ails Hartville these days.
Four council seats are up this time around. And The Report expects "a battle royal" for control of the reins of government. The Report will not be surprised to see Green and her allies go for a rematch in November by trying to wrest control from the Tucker crowd.
Will Hartville see another sea change in its political makeup in November, 2009?