Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Is there a Sarah Palin among the members of the Canal Fulton City Council committee considering the expansion of sewer (and later, water) lines to the far reaches and, indeed, outside the city limits.

Remember, Palin of "bridge to nowhere fame" (the Gravina Island Bridge) who was for the bridge(a federal pork project) before she was against it but used the money as governor designatedf or the bridge for other state purposes.

Are we about to get the same thing from Canal Fulton City Council?

The SCPR has learned that a committee composed of Councilpersons Cihon, Downing and Moellendick are working with City Manager Mark Cozy, formerly a Plain Township administrator (Canal Fulton's version of Canton Director of Annexation Sam "Darth Vader to the Township" Sliman - by virtue of his aggressive annexation attitude) to be in a position to attract business and industry to Canal Fulton by having in place sewer and water to the outskirts of Canal Fulton and beyond (in Lawrence Township).

Councilperson Moellendick is said to have admitted in a meeting on July 14th that there is "no line of waiting businesses" to hook onto Canal Fulton's planned sewer/water infrastructure expansion.

What expansion is planned?

From Canal Fulton out to the intersection of Route 21 and Marshallville Road (extending some 3000 feet outside Canal Fulton proper) and out Portage Road.

The SCPR understands that Canal Fulton does not have the money on hand to finance the planned expansion. But the $800,000 to $1,000,000 project is to be paid for with federal stimulus money but with nearly $500,000 planned as city owed bond debt.

One resident has told the SCPR that he thinks it makes no sense at all to go into debt to build additional sewer/water infrastructure capacity that may never be used.

Another interesting thing that the SCPR has learned about Canal Fulton is that it has a "cost of living allowance" (COLA) escalation on sewer/water fees charged to city customers. Isn't that a new twist on on COLA. Maybe this revelation will inspire the rest of Stark County's political subdivisions to mimic Canal Fulton?

Interested in still more unusual tidbits about Canal Fulton government?

Here goes.

The SCPR understands that up to 70% of some city adminstrators salaries (including the city manager) are paid out of the Water/Sewer Department budget.

Isn't that interesting?

Another intriguing question has been posed by a Canal Fulton resident to the SCPR. Does the City Manager Cozy spending 70% of his time on water and sewer matters?

Here's still another Canal Fulton gem. City Manager Cozy does not mind working with uncertainly. As things stand now Canal Fulton is on the losing site of a lawsuit by Lawrence Township trustees over an annexation on Warwick Road (Canal Fulton Farms annexation - 32.76 acres) which Lawrence Township trustees contend will be "unannexed" if the courts decide that a connecting railroad line is a "property owner" and needed to "consent" for a valid annexation to have occurred.

Here's a sample of what Cozy had to say to The Massillon Independent reporter Amy Knapp (Canal Fulton still standing behind annexation, July 14).
“As far as the annexation being nullified, it hasn’t happened yet, The way it is going on right now could go on for years. All the while, the city is providing services ...
The city is making the investment in the property we annexed. We have spent more money on that property in one year than the township ever did. There are a lot of questions and a lot of issues but all the while the property is in the city. We are not going to stop making investments.”
Cozy seems awfully confident of ultimate victory. Isn't this risky in the sense that it Canal Fulton could lose in the end and it is out it's costs of providing services and its investment dollars?
With that annexation, the school district was relieved of its payment toward a waterline that was brought in by the city to service the schools. The district paid the city an estimated $60,000 in annual fees plus two and a half times the water rate.

With the annexation, the district can save nearly $73,000 a year.The annexation also allowed the city to collect a 1.5 percent income tax from Northwest employees. City officials estimate it will raise as much as $165,000 a year. (As reported by Amy Knapp, The Independent, July 13, Lawrence trustees think they've won annexation fight
Trustee Hargrove (Lawrence Township) was a little more pointed on the possible consequences to Canal Fulton if they lose. He said to Kapp:

“Will they [Canal Fulton] have to give that money back[?]!

Yet another goodie.

This is an "outfoxing oneself caper perpetuated by Canal Fulton city government.

Yours truly could scarcely believe what his ears were hearing as a resident unfolded the tale of Canal Fulton creating a "paper township" thinking it was going to get in the neighborhood of $55,000 (confirming: Canal Fulton officials discuss eliminating paper township, Knapp, The Independent, 02/17/2009 in was is known as "inside millage" money. So, Canal Fulton went ahead and did the paper thing.

Well, it didn't work. The law of Ohio prohibited both Milan Township (Canal Fulton's "paper" township and Lawrence Township from collecting the money. So the geniuses of Canal Fulton city government cost the taxpayers about $115,000 a year (when calculating the lost funds and the "make up" funds from the city budget) until Milan Township can get dissolved which will then enable Lawrence Township to collect the money and get back to square one with the city in a cooperative arrangement that was in place before someone in Canal Fulton had a "brainstorm."

Before Canal Fulton created the "sort of fictional township," the SCPR is told that Lawrence Township collected the money and spent most if not all of it on road maintenance for Canal Fulton.

All these Canal Fulton revelations bring these questions to the mind of yours truly:

Are the citizens of Canal Fulton exercising oversight over the doings of the Canal Fulton administration and City Council? Are taxpayer dollars being put to their most needed and efficient use?

Are City Manager Mark Cozy and council members really for sewer/water line expansions at the tune of $800,000 to $1,000,000 with no buyers in sight?

Is this Stark County's version of pork (stimulus money) and - even worse - going into debt unwisely?

Maybe the "Sarahs" of Canal Fulton might want to rethink all this? Perhaps they will mimic her and turn out to be - in the end - against this "porkish" project when it hits the "light of day" after having been for it?

And maybe the voters of Canal Fulton ought to be thinking about electing smarter people to run their government!

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