Sunday, January 16, 2005

Could North Canton Be Better Served With a Full-time Mayor?

Letter to the Editor
The Repository
Canton, Ohio
January 4, 2005

The idea to create the position of economic development director for the City of North Canton began during the months leading up to the fall 2003 elections. Economic development is important to any community and it was certainly the popular thing to discuss in last fall’s campaign, given the ongoing exodus of the Hoover Company. Just about every candidate jumped on the economic bandwagon, and endorsed the hiring of an economic development director.

What would an individual demand in compensation to head up economic development for a city the size of North Canton? The City of Canton used a search firm to spend upwards of $50,000 to find a qualified individual who is paid $80,000.

But North Canton faces issues far different from those faced by Canton. North Canton has no vacant industrial parks. It has no industrial park. Without expansion of its borders, there is no possibility of anything resembling an industrial park or an office park, so what would you expect from a full-time economic development director? Given the lack of real estate in North Canton for development, the city’s only option is to enhance its retail business on Main Street.

Given North Canton’s efforts in this regard, I propose the following:

First, North Canton should fund its economic development efforts through the North Canton Chamber of Commerce with financial support authorized by city council.

Second, I would highly urge that the office of mayor be made a full-time position. With a full-time mayor, the city gains additional prestige and the citizens gain a mayor who would be made more accountable. Economic development for any city should begin with a mayor who is ready to focus all his time and energy for the city he is expected to serve.

Chuck Osborne
City of North Canton

Explanations Needed For Mayor’s Actions

Prepared Comments Made To
North Canton City Council
January 26, 2004

Over the last few weeks, I have learned of several seemingly illogical decisions made by Mayor Tom Rice and I would like the mayor to provide an explanation in this forum about these decisions:

First: Legislation to study flooding issues in the city was passed by council last fall and he refused to sign it thus delaying action by the city. Later, he refused to sign the contract with the engineering firm that was hired to do the work. Are these actions in the best interest of the citizens of North Canton?

Second: He refused to participate in an opportunity to bring increased tax abatements offered by the State of Ohio to the City of North Canton. As I understand it, this opportunity involved a request in writing declaring that North Canton met criteria for a State of Ohio designation that would allow state tax abatements for equipment purchases by manufacturers doing business in the city. Wouldn’t a program such as this be instrumental in retaining the Hoover Company here in North Canton and bolstering our economic development efforts? Why would the city refuse participation in a state-sponsored program such as this?

Third: What benefit is it to the citizens of the City of North Canton for the mayor to remove long-time dedicated members from the North Canton Park Board? These members were highly endorsed by the North Canton City School Board and have served this city with dedication.

Fourth: Does it serve the city to have the search for the Economic Director shrouded in secrecy and controversy? How is this new employee going to serve as an ambassador for the city when his very employment appears clothed in deception and mystery? What is the city trying to hide under the guise of courtesy and protection of privacy rights?

Lastly: What benefit is it to the citizens of the City of North Canton to remove our former City Administrator, Mr. David Held? The mayor stated in his interview to the Repository Editorial board in the mayoral campaign, not much more than ninety days ago, that he trained Mr. Held and that he was doing a great job for the city. What has changed in the last ninety days that would force such an abrupt change for our community?

The citizens of North Canton deserve a logical and honest explanation for each these decisions.


Chuck Osborne
307 Fairview St. SE
North Canton, OH 44720