Thursday, May 7, 2009


The news for Stark County was bad yesterday in terms of the Stark County commissioners having to sue Alliance and Massillon to get them to pay up on what the owe for jailing their prisoners in the Stark County jail.

As longs as these silly fights persist in the county, there is very little chance that the county can right itself economically and become a once again prosperous community.

The same goes for Canton.

Mayor Healy has created such a negative political situation with Canton City Council that he will end up spending his four years (if he lasts that long) in one political brouhaha after another. The SCPR suspects that Healy is relishing in the political cover the infighting provides for his failure to have made meaningful progress in turning around Canton economically.

The one bright light in Stark County is Commissioner Todd Bosley. He has been trying to get something going to turn around Stark's dire economic downturn. But he is getting resistance. The SCPR has learned that Commissioner Tom Harmon is resisting Bosley's effort to get Stark to collaborate with Chevron on a biomass economic joint venture.

Rather than fight and/or sitting on their collective duffs, Stark County's politicos should be brain storming ways they can work together cooperatively to bring economic revitalization to our county, cities, villages and townships.

Stark County has an opportunity to be the first in Ohio to become a magnet for auto manufacturers of electric/hybrid cars.

USA Today did an intriguing piece in today's edition revealing that electric/hybrid car makers are accelerating their electric/hybrid car production schedules to meet anticipated demand. Nissan (per the quote in the accompanying graphic), will be focusing its market on communities that build a support infrastructure to accommodate buyers of these vehicles which get the gasoline equivalent of up 387 miles per gallon.

Perhaps Congressman John Boccieri could find some federal money to help Stark local governments build this infrastructure. Could Reps Oelslager, Slesnick, Okey and Senators Schuring and Shiavone do the same at the state level.

A North Canton elected official supports an unasked for tax breaks to Albrecht's Acme grocery store operations in the city, "just to show them that North Canton is business friendly" and thereby to send a message to the business community at large.

The SCPR can see the officials' perspective, but questions whether or not this is the kind of ambiance that will "really" jump start economic development.

A better plan would be for North Canton to band together in a countywide infrastructure development plan like the "re-charging station" idea. Now this really would create a "buzz," if that is one is looking for.

And who knows, it might even promote a local businessman to open a "first of its kind" selling electric/hybrid motor vehicles to the Stark County consuming public.

As much as the SCPR likes Commissioner Bosley and his demonstrated initiative, there is a missing element.

It is critically essential that a Stark County put together a "continuously-existent economic development taskforce" which brings all stakeholders to the table to develop a sustainable program of countywide economic development.

The taskforce must be broad enough to include all stakeholders, but structurally efficient enough to see its consensus based recommendations (always in the state of being refined) realized in actual economic development projects throughout the county; the cities, villages and townships of Stark County.

Commissioner Bosley needs to be pushing for the creation of such a taskforce.

1 comment:


If we REALY want business to come back to Ohio and Stark County, then we need to LOWER the tax base at both levels.

Ohio is NOT inviting to companies because of the HIGH taxes. Various studies have consistantly placed Ohio in the bottom 5 states that are favorable to business.

We have great people here, but the taxes kill that benefit quickly.

Lower tax base = MORE high paying, jobs. Simple math.