Monday, September 30, 2013

North Canton Resorts to Extortion and Blackmail in the Name of Economic Development


Prepared Comments Made to
September 30, 2013
            I would like to address last week’s presentation regarding the proposed JEDD for Cain Toyota which is, in part, the basis for entering into a mutual economic agreement with the City of Canton and the townships of Plain and Jackson to be voted on tonight as Resolution No. 63-13. 

            I listened intently last Monday night and took close notes as Council President Snyder described the following: That Cain Motors could no longer meet their water needs with a well and that the City of North Canton was better positioned to extend a water line some great distance to Cain Motors as opposed to the City of Canton who would have to extend its waterline from 38th Street to provide water service. Mr. Snyder also said that Cain Motors would be afforded inside water rates in spite of the fact that Cain Toyota is outside the North Canton City limits. In exchange, Cain Motors would agree to the imposition of a two percent municipal income tax. 

            Wanting to dig deeper into the facts of this situation, I was able to meet the next morning with David Cain, the owner of Cain Motors. 

            I introduced myself to Mr. Cain and the first thing I said was, “I believe you are being blackmailed and I also believe the City of North Canton is being blackmailed.” Without hesitation Mr. Cain said, “I agree!” 

            What I learned next from Mr. Cain astounded me as he told me that his BMW dealership was presently a water customer of the City of North Canton and that the BMW dealership has received water from the City through a four-inch waterline for many years.  

I am very upset in the total misrepresentation of this entire situation at last week’s council meeting. North Canton has water lines already in place right across the street from Cain Motors and have been a North Canton water customer for years.  

Mr. Cain told me that when he built the BMW dealership several years earlier, he simply made a request for water services from North Canton and it was provided without delay.   

Mr. Cain related to me that his current request for expanded water service for his Toyota dealership has gone on for five months with numerous cost estimates from the City. Over the months of delay, he has appealed to State Representative Kirk Schuring and then to State Senator Scott Oelslager to prod North Canton into action. Three calls made to North Canton Mayor David Held for assistance were never returned. 

I am not sure when the idea of a JEDD was presented to Mr. Cain and the accompanying demand that an income tax be imposed, but Mr. Cain knew that the Toyota dealership could not open as scheduled without water service. As the weeks and months went by, he asked everyone he talked to why this wasn’t a simple business deal. North Canton has a product to sell and he wanted to buy it.

These demands on Cain Motors are nothing more than extortion and blackmail and I hope Mr. Cain seeks legal representation. 

North Canton has thousands of outside water customers. Are we going to let them become pawns in these games with the City of Canton and the townships of Plain and Jackson? 

The City of Canton is providing no services in this proposed JEDD and yet, like a mafia thug seeing easy money for the taking, they are slated to receive one third of the income tax collected for participating with Plain and Jackson Townships.  

This is not a collaboration of governments but a conspiracy of governments that border North Canton, designed to forever end annexations by North Canton in Plain and Jackson Township.  

Promises of additional income tax collections from the construction of two new hotels have been made to sell this pig-in-a-poke agreement. Hotels employ mostly minimum wage part-time employees. Not much in the way of income taxes here. And then you want to split it three ways?  

Extension of water service generally brings along with it annexations which allows North Canton to expand its borders in the future. The only other benefit to North Canton in extending water service outside the City is the added revenue from the higher outside water rates that subsidize inside rates, thus keeping water rates low for inside water users. 

For Mr. Cain, this was never about water rates but simply a need for more water. The offer of inside rates to an outside water user violates our long-standing water rate policy, is patently unfair to all North Canton water customers, and undermines the financial integrity of the City’s water fund. 

David Cain of Cain Motors has been very generous in supporting community events in North Canton and is known to many of you. I am stunned this City is treating Mr. Cain in this manner.  

North Canton water is enjoyed far beyond municipal boundaries. The City has spent decades putting in place this infrastructure. Do not now change course on all that this City has built. The current political climate will change in the future negating catastrophic proposals such as the one now before you.   

Consideration of this JEDD for Cain Motors by City Council simply makes this City and all of City Council a party to extortion and blackmail.  

I ask that you not pass Resolution No. 63-13. It simply moves the City closer to surrendering its autonomy as well as its prospects for a successful future.     

Thank you,
Chuck Osborne, Resident
City of North Canton