Wednesday, May 13, 2009


UPDATE: May 14, 2009 at 4:00 P.M.

The SCPR has received a reaction from Mayor Francis Cicchinell, Jr of Massillon. Mayor Cicchinelli takes exception to North Canton Council president Daryl Revoldt's assertion that Massillon could not find an adequate facility for Myers Industries to relocate within Massillon.

Mayor Cicchinellli says that Myers Industries officials told Massillon officials that the facilities Fleming Foods had vacated were large enough, if retrofitted, for Myers' needs.

Cicchinelli says he believes that North Canton (Ohio Department of Development) money trumped the adequacy of facilities question.

UPDATE: May 13, 2009 at 12:30 P.M.

Wooster paid a very heavy price for denying Rubbermaid a small abatement.

In the end, as noted, the situation helped sever the emotional relationship and the company declined to work with the community upon exit...

Wayne County is now recognized as one of the nation's fastest growing microcommunities. Visit the Wayne Economic Council Website for details.

I would submit that one of the reasons for the county's success (Wooster and Orrville) after losing Rubbermaid was the change in its development thought process. The mind set today re development assistance is 180 degrees from 10 years ago. Ask yourself, why is Wooster more successful than Stark County in business growth? What differentiates the two? It's not like they are in two different time zones.

If this situation occurred in Wooster or Orrville, there would be little debate. Why? Because both took the Rubbermaid lesson to heart.

Just last week, Wooster placed $100,000 into a city business development account. In effect, it did what NC did recently (and which Chuck attempted to strip away). Why? Because the account can be a useful lending instrument.

There's no point in beating a dead horse. But if one wants to be successful in business, one needs to think like a business person. And that means a strategy to attract AND RETAIN business. As in many relationships, the little things matter. There is a psychology to these relationships. Communities ignore it at their own peril. The city discounted the cost of the Acme project.

North Canton does have a plan: it added an economic development director. It has multiple incentives, including a long standing and large community reinvestment area. It has a well funded CIC. It has established a good working relationship with its primary industrial partner, IRG. It has attempted to hold down taxes. It has applied for and received state and federal grants for economic development related infrastructure and industrial sites.

One final note, relocations within stark county are inevitable. Sites, like shoes, no longer fit companies when they grow. When the state helped Hoover research move 200 jobs from the city to TTI's Cleveland facility, the city didn't whine. The move made business sense.

When Brown Mackey outgrew its W Maple location in N Canton, the city HELPED it find space in Jackson township. No one read about Jackson poaching from NC or moaning about lost imcome etc. It was a good situation for all of us... Brown Mackey was GROWING. Great!

Myers could have relocated to PA. The company worked with Massillon for nearly two years (and I called Bob Sanderson and directly asked if Massillon had any viable site.... it did not). So, the jobs came to NC.

With regard to Schorer, it had outgrown its Whipple site. It literally had become the Old Woman and the Shoe. People were jammed into every corner. DeHoff had ample opportunity to relocate the company to another facility. None worked. Jackson Twp in fact knew the company was looking and could not
provide an alternative

Would we have preferred the Schorer Headquarters go to Akron? Or do we wish it stayed in Stark County? We know the answer here.

Right now, IRG is working on a $900M Goodyear project (headquarters, general office, retail) in Akron. It has a JRS grant, state loans and city and port authority funding. The project is deemed vital to the revitalization of the East Akron area. It keeps Goodyear in Akron.... both the jobs and the PRESTIGE (here we go with an intangible) were deemed important.

Do you actually believe that every tenant in the general office will be NEW to OHIO? If we insist that be the case because public money isinvolved, the project will fail and with it hopes for the revitalization of East Akron.

Keep this in mind: most economic development is the expansion of an existing business. Rare are the new starts or the new to Ohio projects. So, if we acknowledge that expansions can occur in one of two ways, at the existing site or at a new site, we can cut the debate. As a stark county [sic] strategy, we should encourage expansion at the existing site, but when circumstances don't allow it, help it happen at the new stark county site.

North Canton citizen and one time North Canton councilman Chuck Osborne generated a controversy in North Canton Council over a $6,600 property tax abatement that North Canton has granted Acme (actually the F.W. Albrecht Grocery Company - Acme's official name) for some improvements that are going to made ($1.2 million worth) at the company's North Canton store.

North Canton Council approved the abatement this past Monday.

The apparent issue was whether or not North Canton went running to Acme with the abatement dole out without Acme having ever asked for it.

As the SCPR is wont to do, yours truly created a "tongue-in-check" graphic to poke a little fun at North Canton officials. Obviously, North Canton does not have a vehicular unit, as pictured, designed to go out a spread the "good news of tax abatement" for North Canton connected businesses in hopes of inspiring thoughts of job creating expansion.

But the reaction by some members of Council to Osborne begs the question: why so sensitive?

Is there a grain of truth or more to Osborne's allegation that North Canton's economic development team is working hard to give away taxpayer money for nothing in exchange?


Councilmen DeOrio and Davies (whom abstained in the Acme vote for conflict reasons) for two seem not to favor creating an "anticipatory business environment friendly" economic development tool that Council president Daryl Revoldt (a former Ohio Department of Development official and mayor of North Canton) promotes. DeOrio and Davies favor a BUT FOR approach, that is to say: Company X will not come North Canton unless the company gets a subsidy."

Revoldt, if asked, will go into great detail as to why the annexation agreement recently worked out between Canton and Jackson Township on a specific Jackson-located strip of land is not a sustainable economic development model.

The SCPR agrees with Revoldt on his Canton/Jackson Township analysis which is based on calculable plus and minus tax revenue factors.

But not on his "anticipatory business environment friendly" model.

It is hard to believe Revoldt jettisons his numerical approach so easily in promoting this latter model. For him to do so, is utterly un-Revoldt like. The "anticipatory business environment friendly" model is more like a hope and a prayer approach that, at best, can only serve as an augmentation to a "real" economic development plan.

Even at that, shelling out taxpayer dollars and getting "no value added" in return? Tax revenues are in short, short supply in North Canton, aren't they?

To get a more complete picture of Revoldt's concept, Council's reaction, Osborne's input, Economic Development Director Eric Bowles take and Acme's response, CLICK HERE to see the minutes of the April 27, 2009 North Canton Council meeting.

Interestingly enough, Canton economic development director Robert Torres says he is a BUT FOR administrator.

Now back to the original question.

Does it make any difference whom contacted whom first in the North Canton/Acme scenario.

Clearly, it doesn't.

Let's assume Osborne is incorrect: North Canton did not run the SCPR fictional mobile unit up to F.W. Abrecht Company located at 2700 Gilchrist Road in Akron and rain showers of financial blessing on the company at North Canton's initiative.

Does anyone believe that Revoldt (whom the SCPR believes controls North Canton Council and perhaps is even the de facto mayor of the Dogwood City), given his anticipatory economic development philosophy, wouldn't have shepherded through an abatement request once Acme officials realized subsidies are to be had for the asking and invoked the formality?

The larger issue is not whom asked whom. Such is like the doomed passengers arguing about rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titantic.

The main issue is this: what entity in Stark County is going to develop a "real" economic development plan with long term infrastructure creation and improvement that in time reinvents the entity's economic viability?

The SCPR believes that there is no township, village or city in all of Stark County that has a viable (sustainable) economic development plan. Nor does Stark County itself.

North Canton is out getting business from Massillon and Jackson Township (using Ohio tax dollars via Job Ready Site money) to relocate a few miles into the city and rewarding its businesses for being a "good corporate citizens" with tax breaks.

Canton (with Annexation Director Sam Sliman, who self describes as the "Darth Vader to the townships," is targeting the unwilling in his quest to solve Canton's severe economic woes through militant annexation.

Jackson Township is consorting with Canton in a vain attempt to preserve its identity for the next 100 years.

Massillon is mimicking Canton's Sliman.

Only one of Stark County's three commissioners has the slightest clue about economic development.

What a mess!

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