At Tuesday's monthly Stark County Regional Planning (SCRP) meeting, Executive Director Robert Nau announced that the agency was in the running to be funded by the Fund for Our [northeast Ohio's 16 counties) Future to the tune of $100,000.
An alluring part of the process for citizens to be able to vote for the various project. But Stark citizens were denied the opportunity to participate in earlier stages of the grant process.
The SCPR has a strong "citizen friendly participation" agency model. But in this instance it failed to get the word out. Also on the deficit side of getting the Stark public informed on their opportunity to participate in this process is the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerice: a participant in the Fund for Our Economic Future.
Stark Countians should CLICK THIS LINK and vote for the SCPR proposal which includes digitized mapping of Stark's villages, cities and townships storm-water systems.
The SCPR spoke with Director Nau who emphasized that the mapping is not optional but a requirement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If SCPR gets the grant, then there will be significant savings to Stark County's political subdivisions.
What is disappointing about SCPR's initiative is the failure to get the Stark County public involved earlier.
As seen in the graphic immediately above is there WAS an opportunity for Stark Countians to have direct input in to the Efficient Government Now process. Notice that WAS capitalized.
There are four deadlines for participation: (from the EfficientGovNow.org website)
- Use the downloadable letter template to reach out to local government leaders before April 15, 2009.
- Review and comment on project abstracts, which will be posted on this site May 1, 2009.
- Review and comment on the project proposals, as submitted by teams of local government leaders, which will be posted on this site after May 31, 2009.
- Vote for the best proposed projects between July 1 and July 31, 2009.
The SCPR expressed yours truly's dismay that the initial deadlines have come and gone without the Stark County public knowing about the ability to participate fully.
In our conversation with Nau we learned an of an interesting meshing between SCPR and the Stark County auditor on the mapping function.
Nau told the SCPR that Stark County Regional Planning initiated GIS mapping some ten years ago. The Stark Auditor picked up with GIS under then auditor Janet Creigton. Current auditor Kim Perez as stayed with and enhance GIS with a focus on property boundaries whereas SCRP focuses on digitized mapping pertaining to land use and planning.
In fact, the Stark auditor's GIS function is housed in the basement of the SCRP facility on 3rd Street NE in Canton. There is ongoing conversation between the auditor's office and the SCRP GIS folks on ensuring hardware and software compatibility.
The Stark auditor/SCRP is a little known integration of local government functions which save taxpayers duplication of government services and hence taxpayer dollars.