Wednesday, May 21, 2014

IS NORTH CANTON THE "KENMORE" OF STARK COUNTY?



It seems as if ever since Daryl Revoldt left North Canton city government (president of city council) that North Canton has been falling apart.

The Report thinks that matters are deteriorating so much in North Canton that one has to start entertaining the notion that the city may not long endure.

Perhaps suffering the same fate as the once "city of Kenmore" (in the southwest corner of Akron) did in 1928 when it was forced to lose its identity as a municipality in its own right.


North Canton citizen activist Chuck Osborne tells the SCPR that the Akron Beacon Journal in recent days did a piece on Kenmore's absorption into Akron which he shared with North Canton's council members on Monday evening last.

It appears to The Report that North Canton is pretty much landlocked and has very little room to grow and perhaps Stark Countians will be looking at a graphic like this one in coming years.  North Canton's failure to approve an economic development collaborative agreement with Canton, Jackson Township and Plain Township earlier this year could prove to have been a major blunder in terms of North Canton retaining viability.

In this sense, it is a bit ironic if not hypocritical that Osborne is sounding the alarm bells inasmuch as he was a prime figure in joining with an adamant mayor David Held to defeat North Canton's doing a MEDA (Mutual Economic Development Agreement) with its immediate geographical neighbors.

To their credit, Councilpersons Jon Snyder and Marcia Keisling pushed the hardest to provide North Canton with an avenue to the future.

Also, to his credit, Snyder proposed earlier this year a back door revenue raising measure (a parks levy) that would keep North Canton out of a fiscal crisis over the near term.

A consequence of the MEDA failure (when coupled with a revenue crunch) could be a timeline like this one down the road, no?


Not that Revoldt is any savior figure.

In fact,  one thing that Revoldt was not able to achieve in his time in North Canton agreement is a working partnership with surrounding communities.

But he had a knack for leadership that seems sorely missing these days in (excuse me if I mention trees) in Stark County's major northern most city - The Dogwood City.

On or about March 10, 2011 Revoldt was summoned to Columbus by newly elected Republican governor John Kasich to serve in the then Ohio Department of Economic Development.

Fellow North Canton 4th Warder Jon Snyder (a Republican) took over for Revoldt.

Next to Revoldt, Snyder has the most experience and depth of knowledge of anybody in North Canton, except maybe, his major nemesis (and Revoldt's); one, Chuck Osborne.

And Snyder seemed to be holding things together pretty well.

But after Revoldt's departure and series of unfortunate events have conspired against Snyder (some of his own making) to undermine his ability to lead council.

The SCPR heard yesterday that Revoldt has retired from his work in Columbus and is back in town.

So The Report contacted him and asked whether or not he would be interested in returning to North Canton government?

His answer?

Non-committal.

But he would not rule a return to North Canton government out.

One scenario has Jon Snyder resigning as Ward 4 councilman (and he tells the SCPR that he is considering same because he cannot afford to be without healthcare given his age) and Revoldt who lives in Ward 4 taking his place.

And, the SCPR thinks, another possibility connected to a Snyder resignation might attain out of the surprise Monday night announcement by Gail Kalpac that she is retiring.

One of what the Stark County Political Report thinks was the worst turn of events for the stability, citizen responsiveness and "for the citizens" productiveness was the election of Republican Tim Fox as Ward 3 councilman (November, 2011) and not long thereafter his selection by council as North Canton's law director (SCPR LINK, September 12, 2012).

The Report believes that a good number of problems that dog North Canton to this very day are traceable to Fox and his imperial ways which council has utterly failed to rein in.

Kalpac's retirement (to be effective on June 1, 2014), the SCPR thinks, was largely due - at this time - to the acerbic relationship between Fox and Kalpac.

The SCPR  has spoken to Kalpac and she says that she wants to devote time to caring for her aging parents to spend more time with her grandchildren.

Kalpac is a classy lady and would never point the finger at Fox and her relationship with him as others have done with the Stark County Political Report going back many months ago.

There have been a number of run-in between Fox, citizens and the media (including the SCPR) which The Report thinks is attributable to his "my way or the highway" bearing.

There have been multiple rumors that council was about the sack Fox, but for some reason he seems to have a hold on five councilpersons and Mayol David Held and thereby has been able to stave off those who seek his removal.ere

Back in February there was a big furor about Fox which the SCPR asked the council president Jon Snyer about.

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Of course  Snyder is no longer council president..

But Monday's Kalpac resignation puts North Canton in quite a pickle if not in the box which is already populated with the MEDA failure and no revenue raising plan on the horizon.

Not only will Kalpac's departure make it next to impossible for council to function in an administrative support context, but Snyder tells the SCPR that there is nobody available to train a new employee.

So what to do?

Interestingly enough the answer may have come out of the mouth of one Chuck Osborne.

In a conversation with him today, The Report could scarcely believe the ears as he was suggesting that a clerk of council crisis may be averted by a Jon Snyder resignation to pave the way for his wife Kathy (now employed part-time with Canal Fulton government, and, formerly, a seasoned Stark County Board of Elections employee) to take on being clerk of council.

In yesterday's SCPR conversation with Snyder, The Report brought up the Osborne suggestion of what may be afoot.

Snyder said that in the past (before they married), his wife (then Kathy Lewis) considered going to work for North Canton.

However, with their marriage; her working in any capacity for the city of North Canton was a non-starter?

Snyder that he is going to bring up with his wife the question of whether or not she would be interested in replacing Kalpac should he resign from council.

And, if she were interested and North Canton Council was receptive, a Kathy Snyder employment would solve one huge problem for Jon Snyder.

Kathy Snyder as a North Canton employee would qualify to get "family plan" health care insurance coverage which of course would include who?

You've got it!

One Jon Snyder.

What a gas such a turn of events would be, no?

Jon Snyder was forced off North Canton's health care coverage by the politics of the situation notwithstanding a Tim Fox opinion that he could legally maintain his coverage because of defects in the Osborne generated referendum ordinance (passed overwhelming in November, 2012 by North Cantonians). 

The Osborne ordinance has been challenged in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas by Mayor Held with the blessing of council.

While the SCPR does see North Canton being boxed-in by a number of measures, do not look for an Akron/Kenmore outcome anytime soon.

But Osborne in right.

Council and the mayor need to fashion a plan now to avert what might happen in 2028 if nothing is done.

The SCPR thinks that if North Canton (formerly "New" Berlin) is to avoid being absorbed into Canton and thereby become a part of perhaps a name changed entity "New" Canton; North Canton is going to need a ramp up in quality of leadership.

A Snyder being replaced by a Revoldt and replacements for Councilpersons Werren and Griffith might be enough of a leadership boost for North Canton to avoid becoming Stark County's Kenmore.

And, North Canton could use a change in the mayor's chair occupant too.

Otherwise that box North Canton is in may compress and squeeze the city out of existence!

1 comment:

Aaron Saurer said...

Martin
I read your blog's everyday, but to think the City of Canton could handle anymore, I think your wrong there they have a road now that was part of an annex and they have no clue of what there doing! They haven't figured out over 5 years that you need to clean the ditch out!! They just keep throwing asphalt and grinding's down along the side and then it's just a gathering place for them that they can sit and do nothing!