Wednesday, August 2, 2017



Canton Councilman Bill Smuckler
"Whatever Happened to Annexation for Those Wanting Canton Water?"


Canton Council Ponders/Passes Ordinance to Provide Canton Twp Water


Canton Township Trustee Chris Nichols

No Canton Township/Canton Merger


Canton + Canton Township = "New Canton, Ohio?"

After all, Canton Township virtually encircles Canton.

"Not in my lifetime, but perhaps decades down the road," says Canton director of annexation Sam Sliman who appeared at a Stark County commissioners meeting about five years ago or so and proudly attributed to himself as being the "Darth Vader of Annexation."

Probably a couple of decades ago, Canton water for Canton Township became a hot topic as a lone wolf township activist approached Canton officials about the prospect of Canton constructing a pipeline into the township and selling water to its residents.

At that time, there was a great push in Canton that water came at a price.


Indeed:  "ANNEXATION!!!"

Eventually, the whole notion of a Canton/Canton Township nexus on the leverage of "water for all" fell apart.

So what brings the issue of Canton water for Canton Township into view again?

Here's what.  An ordinance on the agenda of Canton City Council:

What's more is this Councilman-at-Large William Smuckler observation during Canton City Council's work session preceding its July 17th council meeting at which the matter was debated and passed by a 9 to 2 margin.  Councilman Smuckler and Ward 5 councilman Fisher voted "no."

Here is Smuckler's work session comments:

During council's regular meeting of the 17th, Canton water superintendent Tyler Converse explained why it was in Canton's interest to take advantage of the economies of doing the design work now so as to be prepared for Canton and its abundant water supplies to work out an agreement with Canton Township residents (short of annexation) to provide water to them.

Note: (regular meeting video picks up after Smuckler "work session" query)

Over the years since Canton Township water acquisition discussion first began under the Dick Watkins administration (1992-2003), the township has edged itself into getting Canton water for about 50% of its residences/businesses all without falling into the clutches of Sam Sliman—the self-described Darth Vader of Annexation vis-a-vis surrounding townships.

But make no mistake about it.

Canton Township has no interest whatsoever in merging into Canton.

Watch this Stark County Political Report interview of township trustee Chris Nichols as he says that while he and former fellow Canton Township trustee Bill Smith (a Stark County commissioner as of January 1, 2017) ran, in part, campaigns for township trustee on a model of inter-governmental cooperation, the answer to Canton Township merging into Canton is absolutely a "no!"

The SCPR does think that Sam Sliman may turn out to have been a seer of  geography of Stark County "decades down the road."

Just think.

There are cooperative agreements all over and among Stark County political subdivisions.

To name a few:
  • Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD) involving Canton and Jackson Township,
  • JEDD consisting of Canton, Jackson Township and Plain Township,
    • Note:  Landlocked North Canton bowed out in joining this JEDD on the insistence of North Canton mayor David Held,
  • Collaborations among Stark County's 17 school districts, 
  • Canton's recent decision (May, 2017) to join in with the countywide 9-1-1 emergency call receiving and dispatching service,
It is somewhat ironic that Councilman Smuckler raised the spectre of  "annexation as the price for getting Canton water" inasmuch as on other issues he is one of Stark County's foremost advocates for efficiency in government collaboration, cooperation and consolidation among Stark County's cities, villages and townships.

Smuckler now says that he has a somewhat different view on the Canton Township and Canton water.

But, to repeat, he did vote against the design ordinance.

Smuckler excitedly shared with me on this past Monday night that he led the way for Canton to pass an ordinance designed to bring Canton's 9-1-1 into being a full-fledged partner with the existing countywide 9-1-1 effort.

Why the excitement?

Because he has been criticized by some Stark County officials as being "all mouth and no accomplishments" on his "let's come together" advocacy.

Part of his problem, he says, in getting Canton on board before now was former Canton mayor William J. Healy, II insistence that working with the countywide effort was not in the interest of Canton.

Smuckler told me that he has received a call from Randy Gonzalez, the prime architect of Stark County's revamped and highly improved 9-1-1 (modernization began post-2008 and a report that Stark's system was broken) estatically congratulating him on being the lead in bringing Canton onboard.

Moreover, Sheriff George T. Maier contacted him and praised him for his successful effort.

The SCPR agrees with the implication of Director Sliman's forward looking projection.

In 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, Stark County's political subdivision operating model if not the county geographical map is likely to be quite a bit different than it is now.

And, in the making, the likes of Smuckler, Nichols, Smith and Gonzalez will be remembered as pioneers in bringing Stark County together!

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