Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Canton Finance Director
Canton City Council on City Finances
North Canton Mayor David Held (Encore)
Ohio & City Finances

"Red, red everywhere and plenty of drops to drink!"

Such is an apt description of Hall of Fame city's finances these days.

But I have done my part to help Canton out of its financial troubles.

Yesterday, after having placed two hours on a parking meter next to the building housing the Stark County Regional Planning Commission, I learned I came up short on my estimate of the time I would spend at a Stark County Land Bank meeting and post-meeting activities.

Hence, this:

Knowing that Canton needs every dollar that it can scrum up, the first thing I did on returning home was to send an "electronic' check in to Canton in payment of the ticket.

So I am doing my part!

Watching Canton finance director Mark Crouse update Canton City Council on city finances for 2017 at council's July 17th meeting was painful enough, but his projected for 2018 and 2019 deficits are blood curdling perhaps to the point of producing financial clots of a fiscal viability life threatening nature.

Of course, the question is:  Who is to blame?

The easy answer is William J. Healy, II's eight years as mayor of Canton.

But The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) does not believe that the "easy answer" is the full answer.

For one thing, where was city council in exercising its oversight function?

Healy appears to have massaged city finances "for the moment" to make it seem Canton was on a sustainable track which "seemingness," with only a modicum financial scrutiny by the Finance Committee (personified by the committee chair [Ward 1 Councilman Greg Hawk for most of the Healy years] operating as council's watchdog could have/should have stopped the charade in council's discharging it annual duty of passing a city budget.

For another, the State of Ohio through the Ohio General Assembly budgeting process since the onset of Republican John Kasich becoming governor in 2010 has devastated local government finances in dramatically reducing the state's share of funding local governments.

Only the SCPR as Stark County-based media names names of the perpetrators of the fiscal hard times that Ohio state government has visited on local governments.

For Stark County, those names have been and continue to be Scott Oelslager (R, Ohio Senate District 29), Kirk Schuring (R, Ohio House District 48) and Christina Hagan (R, Ohio House District 50).

Ohio's core cities are bearing the brunt of what seems to be a war by a largely rural/suburban-based Republican supermajority controlling Ohio's legislature.

Recently, North Canton mayor David Held (a Republican) complained at a recent North Canton council meeting about an impending adverse to Ohio cities legislation by the Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly.

Canton's treasurer (Kim Perez) recently sent this letter to Senator Oelslager.

So Ohio's war on cities seems to be continuing unabated.

It seems to the SCPR that notwithstanding Mayor Tom Bernabei's effort to "stop the bleeding," the city's employee compensation factor has gotten out-of-control (not only with Healy, but with mostly Republican administrations going back a number of mayors) that it will take his four full years plus to get Canton onto a financial sustainable path.

Bleak financial conditions do not happen on their own.

Causative factors should be and can be assigned to particular persons making decisions government and voters need to take note of the names and hold these "real" person officials accountable by thinking two, three times about returning them to office.

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