Tuesday, June 13, 2017



UPDATED:  04:15 PM

As the author of The Stark County Political Report, I have been following "in detail" like no other Stark County media outlet, developments on the 5 year old or so real property abatements to North Ridge Place, Ltd (NRP; a company owned by North Canton developers William Lemmon/Robert DeHoff).

Initially it appears that a 100% real property abatement was granted sometime in 2012 without fanfare and therefore not picked up upon by the general public or, as it now seems—if one believes the denying North Canton public officials (e.g. Mayor David Held and North Canton City Council members or North Canton Board of Education members) suggestions that the abatement was totally and completely the work and only the work of the-then economic development director Eric Bowles.

The North Canton public official denials are in the category of "if you believe that, then I have some swamp land in Florida I want to sell you."

The abatement started being implemented in 2016 to the benefit of NRP.

Last night (June 12, 2017)  at a "Committee of the Whole" meeting, it appeared that North Canton City Council was into a full-blown operation salvage operation to reverse as best it can the loss of several hundreds of thousands of dollars by North Canton City Schools as a consequence of the "quietly" granted abatement to the Lemmon and DeHoff owned company.

It looks like that North Canton Council will be approving very, very soon negotiated agreements with NPR, Ltd and North Canton schools to compensate the schools for 50% of the real property tax abatement received/to be received by the DeHoff/Lemmon enterprise.

To The Stark County Political Report, the North Ridge Place abatement process is a textbook case of how "checks and balances" were not in place in North Canton government to have prevented (or, at the very least to have interested parties have their say) the diversion of sorely needed North Canton City Schools revenues to North Canton economic development projects.

This blog is the first of a number of installments to be published providing North Cantonians and other Stark County communities with the tools to understand how the failure of "checks and balances" failed in North Canton and in so understanding implement measures in their respective communities to ensure that the same does not occur there to the detriment of local education.

Former Repository editor Mike Hanke in 2006 (as referenced by North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne) put it about as well as it can be in terms of the relative priorities of economic development through real property abatements and critically needed revenues to the schools, to wit:

There are reports that North Canton schools are considering putting on a tax/bond initiative this November.

If those reports are accurate, then not only does the NRP abatement deprive the schools of acutely needed revenues to the tune of nearly one-half-million-dollars, more or less, but seemingly factors into the reported thinking that the schools need to make up the missing one-half-million dollars, more or less.

All because North Canton city government did not have and perhaps continues not to have safeguards in place in the form of "check and balances" so that those North Cantonians who deem adequately education a priority over economic development projects like the Lemmon/DeHoff North Ridge Place endeavor.

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