Wednesday, May 4, 2011


There is an expression:  "the hurrieder I go, the behinder I get," may be in full play with North Canton economic development.

For the SCPR, there is no doubt that the Held administration (Administration) and North Canton City Council (Council) are consummately committed to recovering from the severe economic blow the city was dealt when The Hoover Company closed its doors several years ago.

However, it appears to The Report that North Canton's  deliberative processes on and thinking about economic development are seriously flawed.

Monday night at a session of the Committee of the Whole, it seemed to yours truly that the Held administration was giving Council the "bum's rush" in terms of revealing critically needed information so as to equip Council to make a thoughtful, thoroughly vetted decision as to whether or not it is in North Canton's interest to accept the terms proffered by the fictionalized named Omega Project.

The SCPR is told that Omega Project is none other than the locally well known SUAREZ CORPORATION (Suarez) of Jackson Township.

If the information the SCPR is accurate as The Report believes it is, this seems to be yet another case of North Canton raiding from within Stark County and calling it economic development which is a case of political spin, pure and simple!

It seems to the Stark County Political Report that one of the few persons who caught the significance of what was afoot at the Committee of the Whole meeting other than North Canton Councilmen DeOrio and Davies is Council nemesis Chuck Osborne (a former councilman).

Here is what Osborne had to say about the secretive-esque Administration presentation:
What is the owner of the Hoover District doing to entice tenants to his facility? City Leaders have no idea?

Why is it repeatedly up to the City of North Canton and taxpayers to make the concessions to bring new tenants to the Hoover District?

All lease payments will go to the owners and developers of the Hoover District. I thought this was supposed to be a partnership? Does the City of North Canton have any idea what the developer of the Hoover District is providing to entice this new tenant to locate to the Hoover District?

Apparently from the discussion, no one in the City has any specifics as to number of employees of this firm, the revenues of the company, or the income taxes that would be collected.

Why is there no financial analysis of the proposal to study and scrutinize before moving ahead with further consideration of this request? Mayor Held, who was pitching this Refundable Occupancy Tax Credit Program, apparently does not know himself, as he was grabbing figures out of thin air in an effort to explain to City Council how this Tax Credit Program would work.

Why would any intelligent body of leaders move ahead with consideration of a deal without having all the information?

Why has every request for abatement of taxes in the City of North Canton always been run through on an emergency? I feel certain that these City Leaders do not make decisions about their own household business affairs with limited or no information.

Why do City Leaders take less care when it comes to the publics [sic] business than they do their own personal business?
To their credit, Councilmen DeOrio and Davies did raise serious questions about the Omega Project presentation (see the videos of their questioning below); however, the both indicated to The Report that they would be voting next Monday to proceed notwithstanding their unanswered questions which to The Report's way of thinking is a strange approach.

DeOrio not only asked questions.  He presented an alternative.  As a good and effective councilman should do, DeOrio has gone out and researched Refundable Tax Credit (variously known as Refundable Occupancy Grants [ROG).  He cited to Council a resource that all of them can access on the City of Macedonia, Ohio website in order to be better prepared in dealing with the Held administration and as a model for what North Canton might go to as future ROG initiatives come along [CLICK ON THIS SENTENCE TO LINK UP WITH THE MACEDONIA SITE]

So why is the Held administration so intent in rushing the Omega Project (Suarez?) through?

The Report believes it is because he wants something to crow about in tonight's State of the City message scheduled for the North Canton Civic Center at 7:00 PM.

Economic development is tough at any time.  And, it is particularly difficult now because of the severe blows the U.S. economy has suffered over the last three years or so.  Unemployment rates are high across the entire country.  North Canton and Stark County are no exception.

Politicians of all political stripes are under enormous pressure to get their local economies going and the SCPR believes are making some really bad deals for the taxpaying public and to boot are putting the capital structure of the various government entities at risk.

North Canton inherited the Hoover complex and is desperately trying to force feed it to success.  City leaders went out a lured Myers Industries away form Stark County sister-city Massillon and as part of the deal purchased a $400,000 crane for Myers.  So if the Myers venture doesn't pay off, what does North Canton do with and very expensive industrial crane?

The Report's overall take on North Canton's partnership (sort of) with Maple Street Commerce LLC is that it is treading water.  Not a failure.  Not booming success some city officials are touting.  Again, "just treading water."

Recently, it came to light to North Canton economic officials that Diebold (presently primarily located in the City of Green [Summit County] bordering Stark) was looking to relocate its facilities.  Recently?  Well, only if you are a North Canton economic development official.

Actually, Diebold has been scouting about for a site that will accommodate facilities akin to Diebold's competitor National Cash Register (NCR - formerly of Dayton) campus like facilities in the Atlanta, Georgia area FOR NINE (9) MONTHS.

Even though North Canton came to the game late, it seems that Diebold is interested in North Canton's Arrowhead grounds as a potential site that could rival its competitor's in Atlanta.  But, alas, the North Canton councilpersons that The Report has talked to indicate they think that North Canton's economic development team is "a day late and a dollar short" and therefore are not optimistic that anything will come of the Diebold thing.

So what is one to make of North Canton's economic development effort?

For The Report:  it is flawed and needs to be overhauled!

There is no question that North Canton has some terrific assets to offer (hopefully, out-of-county; if not out-of-state/country) prospective employers to come into the Dogwood City and Stark County.

Disturbingly, it does not appear to the SCPR that North Canton has a economic development team in place to enable it to parlay its capital and social assets into jobs in sufficient numbers to offset those lost in Hoover's demise.

If North Canton's officials want to turn the city around economically, they need to re-evaluate the quality  of the city's  economical development effort.

Here are the videos of Councilman DeOrio and Davies speaking out on the Omega Project.

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