UPDATE: Area media reports that Mayor Catazaro-Perry in effect cried "Uncle" and submitted the Massillon City Council approved plan to the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission headed up by State of Ohio Office of Management and Budget representative Sharon Hanrahan sometime yesterday.
Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry
Councilman Ed Lewis
Massillon Financial Recovery Plan
She can only "hope" that she might some day become America's answer to Great Britain's "Iron Lady:" Margaret Thatcher.
Who can doubt that Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry of Massillon is trying.
On August 1, 2012, as President Barack Obama was flying around the country campaigning for reelection as president, he stopped by Akron-Canton Airport for a "meet 'n' greet" with area public officials.
One of the privileged was Catazaro-Perry.
So it could be that the tenacity and tough skin that she has been honing since she became mayor on January 1, 2012 will one day catapult her into the national limelight as "one tough lady."
The SCPR has been on hand to see many Catazaro-Perry "in-your-face" routines.
The evolving Iron Lady of Massillon, the SCPR believes, is not really who she has been as a person pre-political career. However, she has been running with a political crowd since the early 2000s which has left its mark on her.
Ten years down the road and she is no longer the person who some folks remember as being a different Kathy Catazaro-Perry.
Right now Massillonians are taking in a confrontation between the politico-hardened mayor and Massillon City Council.
Yesterday was supposedly "showdown" date between Her Honor and Massillon's legislators, at least eight (8) of them.
The latest round in the stand off took place on Monday night when council passed a plan to:
- Reduce the credit that Massillonians who work out-of-town get for income taxes paid to the other city/village from 100% of up to the current 1.8% to 75% of that amount which will become 1.9% if Massillons agree to the .1% increase on an upcoming ballot initiative,
- SCPR Note: This particular provision is the one of all the provisions of revenue raising measures being negotiated (?) between the mayor an council that Her Highness seems most fixed on. Back in early 2012, Catazaro-Perry was proposing a 50% reduction in the credit.
- SCPR Note: Republican leader of council, Ed Lewis, IV (Ward 6) has been just as adamantly on the other side of the issue. As has Massillon resident and Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (an arch political foe of Catazaro-Perry sponsor and mentor Johnnie A. Maier, Jr).
- Maier is Massillon's clerk of courts, a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman (2003-2009) having succeeded Ferrero. Moreover, he is currently executive vice chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party. Noteworthy also his Maier's tie to the Stark County Democratic Party political director Shane Jackson who is Maier's chief deputy and as such - at last report - is paid a higher salary than Catazaro-Perry.
- Reduced credit to begin July 1, 2014 and continue indefinitely if the .1% income tax increase passes,
- Reduced credit to end on December 31, 2015 if the income tax increase fails,
- SCPR Note: It is the latter point (end on December 15th) which is "the sticking point" of whether or not the mayor will agree with council's passed plan
Initially, Catazaro-Perry was saying "my way or the highway." But some think that by the end of Monday's council meeting she was reconsidering.
Witness this SCPR video of her exchange with Councilman Lewis (March 10, 2014 meeting):
Kathy Catazaro reconsidering?
You have to be kidding, no?
Well, for the good of Massillon, let's hope not.she is reconsidering.
The Stark County Political Report buys Lewis' line that council has given much more than the mayor.
Take a look at the rest of Ordinance 25 - 2014: (an extract)
MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL FINANCIAL RECOVERY PLAN
1. Sources of Additional Revenue
(a) 181.031 LEVY OF ADDITIONAL TAX
In addition to the income tax levied pursuant to Section 181.03 there is hereby levied, to provide funds for the purpose of expenses of operation of the municipal government, a tax upon earnings at the additional rate of one-tenth of one percent (.10%) upon those items enumerated in Section 181.03.
(b) Approve a street lighting utility fee with and effective date at the beginning of a quarter-year date, preferably April 1, 2014. Under this plan, each improved property owner will be charged a fee of $25.00 per year. (Same as Mayor’s)
(c) Evaluate existing debt refinancing opportunities. (Same as Mayor’s)
(d) Identify non-essential City Assets. (Same as Mayor’s)
(e) Evaluate new and existing fees for permits, licenses and services and bring them current with other similar cities. (Same as the Mayor’s)
(f) Review and evaluate collections practices in various City departments (Same as Mayor’s)
(g) Adopt selected revenue generating recommendations contained in the Auditor of State Performance Audits for the Police Department, Parks and Recreation Department and The Legends of Massillon Golf Course (Same as Mayor’s)
(h) Explore grant possibilities for virtually every aspect of City operations (Same as Mayors)
2. Expenditure Reductions, Cash Management Strategies and Elimination of Deficit Funds (Same as Mayor’s) (emphasis added)
The SCPR for one will be surprised if she relents.
The expectation is that if the mayor had not accepted as of the end of yesterday the following consequences will flow:
- a 15% reduction in the city's budget using April, 2013 appropriation numbers,
- to be implemented on April 1, 2014, and
- to continue until the mayor and council agree on a plan
Republican members of council have been pushing for expenditure cuts since Catazaro-Perry became mayor.
If cuts take place, look for political dynamics to take over big time as both the mayor and council members are up for reelection in 2015.
Massillonians will be inundated with "the blame game" as to who caused the impasse necessitating the cuts.
The only hope that the SCPR sees in avoiding a drawn out fight between Massillon's "Iron Lady in the Making" and council is the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission headed up by State of Ohio Office of Management and Budget representative Sharon Hanrahan.
Hanrahan is one of the few voices, if not the only voice, she heeds other than that - apparently - of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his "kitchen cabinet" of political loyalists.
Let's hope she can slow down the accelerating pace of an "Iron Lady in the Making!"