SCPR SERIES HIGHLIGHTING INCIDENTS IN WHICH STARK COUNTY'S POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS (I.E. COUNTY GOV'T & VILLAGE, CITY & TOWNSHIP) FAIL STARK TAXPAYERS
Healy Plays Loose with the Facts
Stark County's Allocation of
"Ohio Moving Forward" Money
"Ohio Moving Forward" Money
The SCLRC Vote
Canton's OHFA Application
The SCLRC Meeting
January 21, 2014
Only Mayor William J. Healy, II could pull this one off.
On the one hand,
- making out that the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation (SCLRC, "Land Bank") to be the problem getting in the way of Canton making a dent in achieving progress in tearing down abandoned eyesore residences and, then,
- sending a representative (Chief of Staff Fonda Williams) to Land Bank meeting "with hat in hand" pleading with the SCLRC board members to sponsor Canton in making an application with the State of Ohio for more money to demolish the vacated properties.
HISTORY BEHIND THE "HEALY SET UP"
Back on July 29, 2013 (at a Canton City Council meeting) is seen in the video below ragging on the SCLRC for not allocating Canton all $2.3 million that the commission received from the Ohio attorney general's Stark County allocation from his Moving Ohio Forward program (LINK for background on the Moving Ohio Forward program).
Never mind that other Stark County communities have problem properties to deal with and need some of the Moving Ohio Forward money.
After all, Canton is "everything Stark County," notwithstand the following list of "other Stark County demolitions projects," no?
In Healy's mind, Canton is Stark County.
But others beg to differ with him.
Among those are SCLRC board members Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar (Republican), Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton (Republican) and Plain Township trustee Scott Haws (Republican).
Commissioner Thomas Bernabei (Democrat) likely disagrees with Healy also but the SCPR isn't all that sure about him.
Why is The Report unsure?
THE SCLRC "TURNING 'THE OTHER CHEEK'"
At a meeting of the SCLRC on January 21:
- Bernabei (a Democrat) joined with:
- Canton's representative on the board (Lem Green, a Democrat and who formerly worked in the treasurer's office under Gary Zeigler [until he - Green resigned],
- to pass a resolution
- and Republican commissioner Janet Creighton in a stunning development in which she 'reluctantly" was "the deciding vote"
- in overcoming the "no" votes of Zumbar and Haws.
- to pass a resolution
- committing the the SCLRC to work with Canton, the Stark County Regional Planning Commissioner and others
- to help Canton qualify for a "minimum" $2 million grant from the Ohio Housing Financing Agency (OHFA) which is administrating a federal government Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) which - believe it or not - is from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) money passed by Congress.
- NOTE 1: Ohio did not come out with guidelines and applications until the first week of January, 2014 and required that application be submitted not later than January 31, 2014 (this past Friday).
- Canton did make a submission on Friday.
- NOTE 2: Canton (through Fonda Williams [who was present at the meeting of the 21st) did promise to include other Stark County political subdivisions in sharing some of the grant money, should Canton's application be successful.
- NOTE 3: That Canton has not used all of its Ohio Moving Forward money (see below), may adversely affect its NIP application.
- NOTE 4: $60 million is available statewide to be distributed in two rounds. Round 1 has $50 million set aside for distribution. Awards can range from a minimum of $2 million to $15 million. $10 million (plus any unused Round 1 money) will be distributed some time after July 31st.
After the meeting the SCPR spoke to Williams about the close vote.
STARK COUNTY TO LOSE "MOVING OHIO FORWARD MONEY BECAUSE CANTON LAGS ON DEMOLITION EFFORT
The big rub at the January 21st meeting was the fact "it came to light" that Canton will not meet its demolition goal of spending $1 million in demolishing abandoned and dilapidated residences by May 31, 2014.
The SCPR covers Canton City Council on a pretty regular basis and The Report can say that council is not one bit happy with the Healy administration on the slow pace of Canton's sorely needed tear downs.
With this blog, council members are likely to be even unhappier as they learn that Canton will be leaving tens of thousands of dollars (if not in the range of several hundred thousand dollars) on the table.
According to Williams, the reason for the failure is that "not enough contractors" (7 of a possible 14) are participating in the city's bidding process and - even for those who are - they - for the most part are having to "be run herd on" in getting the demolitions done on a timely basis.
Moreover, he says, Canton has been plagued by its contractors" nitpicking various aspects of their successful bids as a pretext (the SCPR's interpretation of Williams' remarks) for justifying their not getting particular demolitions done.
So let's get this straight Mayor Healy: Canton cannot fully use the $1 million that the SCLRC allocated the city, and so you blast the Board for not allocating $1.3 million more?
A red herring, (LINK to definitions) if the SCPR has ever seen one.
No surprise to the SCPR! Healy always seem to blame others when things go wrong for Canton.
THE HEALY SPIN? WILLIAMS APPEARS TO BE DOING WHAT HE CAN.
It appears to the SCPR that Williams is endeavoring to move "heaven and earth" to spend the $1 million. The way the program works is that Canton gets reimbursed up to $1 million (the local match which Canton financed by issuing bonds).
But when The Report quizzed him before Canton's January 27th meeting about reasons why Canton was not going be spending the $1 million, he did what appears to be a Healy-esque "two-step" and avoided the head-on question that Stark County as a consequence was going to lose the unspent and focused on "making up" for the failure under Moving Ohio Forward by using the OHFA-NIP money, if it is approved.
The SCPR likes Williams and views him as a guy who wants to be straight forward but he works for a guy (Healy) who The Report thinks in practically never straight forward.
And, Healy IS the BOSS.
If you don't believe the SCPR, just ask Hizzhoner himself.
He'll tell ya!
If you are going to work for William J., you'd better get that straight or you will not be around once he figures out that a subordinate has a mind of his/her own.
Among his victims on that score have been former service director Bernabei, former safety director Tom Nesbitt and former service director, safety director, and chief-of-staff Warren Price.
After the SCPR talked with Williams, to set the Healy-inspired (the SCPR thinks) spin straight, The Report contacted SCLRC president Alex Zumbar.
Zumbar has been the driving force behind Stark County getting involved in the Land Bank business.
Since early 2012 Zumbar has been leading the effort to get Stark land bank up and going.
To see the underlying documents (the commissioners' resolution of March 21, 2012 and the Articles of Incorporation) of the "new" non-profit (quasi-governmental) corporation, go to this LINK at the secretary of state website and then click on "Document Number/Image," to wit:
For Canton not to have been prepared for the infusion of millions of dollars is simply inexcusable and Cantonians should be outraged.
And they should lay it right at the feet of William J. Healy, II!
Here is the above-referenced exchange between the SCPR and Zumbar.
First, the SCPR email to Zumbar:
>>> Martin Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org> 1/29/2014 8:37 AM >>>
I talked with Fonda Williams at Canton City Council's meeting on Monday about the progress of the OHFA grant.
My question was a follow up to the point made at the SCLRC meeting re: Canton's inability to fully utilize the OAG Moving Ohio monies.
It was: what happens to the "unused" portion of the OAG money?
I was unable to understand his explanation. He seemed to me to be merging his answer with the OHFA grant application and the assumption that Stark County would qualify. My understanding was that should Canton fail to uses all the OAG money allocated by the SCLRC, the city would be covered by OHFA money.
But still was not responsive - in my opinion - to my question.
Can you help me out with an answer from the SCLRC perspective?
Thank you for your follow-up question on the January 21, 2014 -Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation meeting.
To answer your question "What happens to the "unused" portion of the OAG money?"
In short, it is left on the table and is retained by the Ohio Attorney General office. The money not expended by the Moving Ohio Forward demolition grant deadline of May 31, 2014 will not be available to the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation for reimbursement for demolished structures in Phase I. Under our existing contracts, phase one of this program still requires the completion of all demolitions by May 31, 2014.
For any amounts remaining and available from the Phase I - MOF demolition grant program would then be a decision that would be made by Attorney General Mike DeWine. Attorney General DeWine could consider the possibility of redistributing the remaining amounts to County Land banks that express an interest and that are in a position to be able to expend the funds should another Moving Ohio Forward demolition grant Phase II.
Of course, Janet Creighton never worked for Healy, but she did lose an election to him in 2007 after having been elected mayor in 2003.
Once he took office, Healy started trashing her in her administration of the mayor's office during her four years.
Of course, the objective of this quintessential Healy tactic is what?
You have it. To make Healy look like Boy Wonder coming to the rescue, no?
Maybe the Bush administration should have checked with Healy before asking Janet to join the administration for its last year in office?
Healy is well known for trashing anyone who disagrees with him.
Actually, it is a compliment to be attacked by him.
The Report hears that every year for Christmas, somebody gives him a Top. You know: Spin, Spin, Spin, ad infinitum.
CREIGHTON'S "PRO-HEALY" VOTE
Undoubtedly, Janet Creighton would not see her vote as a "pro-Healy" vote.
Rather she has to be thinking that it was a "pro-Canton-citizen" vote that unfortunately is under the administration of a man who likely will find one way or another to botch things up if OHFA approves the application.
It is to her credit (and to Bernabei also) that she and he did not let past animosities affect their votes.
The SCPR does not think that the Zumbar and the Haws "no" votes were borne of partisan political differences.
Rather, The Report sees them as being for political "philosophical" differences, which The Report thinks Creighton shares.
It is a credit to her that she resolved her doubts in favor of everyday Cantonians who she faithfully served for four years.
When Healy runs for office again, he certainly spins his failure to use all the money available to Canton from Moving Ohio Forward into having been some grand success.
Such is the nature of William J. Healy, II.
One has to wonder when the citizens of Canton are going to get wise about this guy Healy?
He has been bamboozling them for over six years now.
Wise up Cantonians, wise up!
The January 21st SCLRC meeting is quite interesting and here it is - for the most part - except for the first 30 minutes or so which the SCPR missed because of attending a Stark Board of Elections meeting of the same date.
The initial missed portion had to do with the SCLRC hiring an administrator. The preference is to hire on a contract basis rather than a direct employee.
Also missing is a few minutes of board consideration of vacant lot disposition which occurred because of The Report's desire to interview Canton Chief of Staff Fonda Williams one-on-one.
The Fonda Williams interview is presented above.