The Suburbanite
  • Canton to annex sewage treatment plant

  • The city of Canton will annex a 184.5-acre property in Canton Township where its Water Reclamation Facility is located. The city hopes to charge its income tax to construction workers for $90 million plant upgrade.

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  • A proposed 184.5-acre annexation of the city’s Water Reclamation Facility from Canton Township will allow the city to tax construction crews embarking on a nearly $90 million upgrade there.
    The city is annexing nearly eight acres of Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway line, which will link it to the sewage treatment plant, 3530 Central Ave. SE. As a utility, Wheeling & Lake Erie is exempt from the annexation petition. The city is the only other land owner in the proposed annexation, which has not yet been filed with Stark County commissioners.
    The annexation is expected to be complete before the city begins an EPA-mandated upgrade at the facility, where 42 city workers are employed. The project cost includes an estimated $69 million for construction. It is unclear how much of that is for labor.
    “There are no secret agendas here or ulterior motives,” said Samuel Sliman, the city’s annexation coordinator. “We just want to bring our own facility into the city. There’s going to be a major expansion project there. We’re trying to be prudent. We want as much property owned by the city in the city and...to take advantage of any taxable income we can. We want to be able to charge them Canton city income taxes.”
    The city would be able to charge construction crews its 2 percent income tax. Service Director Warren Price said the city could see revenue in the “low six figures” during the three- to four-year project. Price said cost estimates on the project have ranged from $89 to $92 million, but there is hope that it will come in at closer to $85 million.
    “We wanted that (facility) to be in the city so we could maximize the income-tax dollars,” Price said. “To do that, we’re working cooperatively with Canton Township. This is one that since the city owns the facility it was pretty quickly agreed that Canton Township would not fight the annexation.”
    Price and Sliman said Canton Township Trustee William Smith has been aware of the city’s plans for more than a year. Since the city-owned land is property tax exempt, “it’s a zero-sum game for them,” Sliman said of the impact to the township.
    The sewage treatment plant project, paid for by the city and county, has not gone to bid yet, said Superintendent Tracy Mills. The EPA has given the city until early 2014 to come into compliance with more stringent regulations for the treatment of phosphorous. The project also will address the treatment of nitrogen and fix aging areas of the plant, which was built in 1976.
    The city also plans to annex a new Taco Bell restaurant on a 1.5-acre parcel at 3600 Regent Ave. NE in Plain Township. The restaurant is on the north side of U.S. 62. It is owned by Charter Foods North.
    Page 2 of 2 - Both petitions will be filed as Expedited Type-2 annexations, meaning the property becomes part of the city, while also remaining a part of the township for tax purposes. In both cases, the city will provide police and water. Both entities will provide fire protection through a mutual-aid agreement.
    Canton City Council must approve service ordinances before the city files the petitions with the county.
    Reach Matthew at 330-580-8527 or matthew.rink@cantonrep.com.
    On Twitter: @mrinkREP

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