MAYOR KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY
STREETS DEPT "ONLY"
AUGUST .2% LEVY
After 4-1/2 years Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry has finally figured out that in order to solve Massillon's financial/economic problems, she must work with Massillon City Council.
That's the SCPR's takeaway from last night's work session council meeting in which the mayor made a proposal for persuading Massillon's voters to provide some $1M to $1.4 million in additional revenues to the city.
Except for a small parks and recreation dedicated levy, Massillonians have been unwilling going back to 1977 to provide the city's elected and appointed officials one cent more in revenues to run the city with.
Here is the mayor's core presentation of last night, in her own words:
Anyone who knows anything about Massillon government and politics knows (if they are honest with themselves) that the mayor has been her own worst enemy and for some Massillonians a veritable nightmare as this once rock solid Stark County city has slidden into a condition of treading water under her administration.
Had Catazaro-Perry at the beginning of her administration pushed for a dedicated levy plan for the streets department as she did last night, The Report thinks that a majority of Massillonians would have bought in and Tigerland would be miles of ahead of where it is now.
Instead she decided to play politics in insisting that Ohio government needed to place Massillon in fiscal emergency so that four years down the road at re-election time she could don the role of political heroine in having brought Massillon back to financial if not economic development health.
She apparently assumed that somewhere across those four years, Massillonians would agree to provide more revenues to Massillon so she had the resources to be a miracle worker.
Had she handled herself differently, they well may have.
But she chose to engage a pitched battle with council and here we are coming up in August with a fourth try for Massillon government to get sorely needed additional revenue.
As the SCPR sees it, in the back and forth underlying political warfare between the mayor and certain city councilpersons; getting a levy passed was not ever, ever going to happen.
Rather than admit the disaster she has been as mayor (only 40% of Massillon's 2015 general election voters voted for her in a three way contest coupled with her coming very close to losing the Democratic primary to a political unknown [Ress]), she continues to put an unreal picture of Massillon's financial and economic picture.
She talks about stability (hence the stones piled on one another in the lead graphic of this blog) but at the same time talks about "limping along," (hence the wilting flower in the graphic).
To The Report, such talk is trying to have it both ways which is symptomatic of one who cannot admit to herself that her refusal to work with council constructively over her first term in office has put Massillon in a terrible financial and economic development stance.
At the end of 2015 she was ebullient about a supposed $1.95 million carryover into 2016.
However, her straight-talking, has the confidence and respect of nearly every if not every member of council—Safety-Service Director Joel Smith—has consistently in effect said that the $1.95 million is a mirage in that he and other Massillon officials could spend the supposed surplus in a nanosecond.
Of course, as seen in the video above, she is now parroting Smith.
The Report's recollection is that originally (when the carryover was first ballyhooed) the mayor was not focusing on the reality that the $1.95M carryover only existed because Massillon officialdom forwent purchasing critically needed equipment, supplies and the providing of services.
The Dean of Massillon City Council (Councilman-at-Large Paul Manson) at the work session put the proper perspective on the state of financial affairs when he said that Massillon is some four to five million short of dealing with its government capital needs.
The only reason Masillon has a semblance of fiscal stability (the stone) is because Massillon has become a bare bones government that is only marginally meeting the needs of Massillonians.
In the video, Catazaro-Perry cites "confusion" over the ballot language as one of the reasons for the defeat of the March, 2016 tax issue.
And she might be partially correct that it was a contributing factor for its defeat.
But a more compelling reason in the confusion she has sewn with Massillon voters in her political dilly-dallying around with fiscal emergency, sitting on her hands on prior levy efforts and for nearly four years blaming the predecessor administration for all that ails Massillon.
Smith actually knows how to govern. The mayor doesn't. Nor did/do her prop-ups ("Kitchen Cabinet") Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., R. Shane Jackson or Eddie Elum.
Catazaro-Perry needs to do what she does best.
Be the cheerleader-in-chief of a city she has dubbed as being the "City of Champions."
Cheer on Mayor Kathy!
Leave the governance to Joel Smith and others in her administration who know what they are doing!