North Canton Council stood down from a confrontation with its neighbor to the south and voted to approve an agreement to contribute funds to upgrades of Canton’s sewage plant in Canton Township.
City Council voted 6-0 Monday to approve an agreement with the Canton where North Canton will contribute $1.9 million toward $88.9 million in upgrades to Canton’s sewage plant in Canton Township.
North Canton sends its sewage into Canton’s system.
The approval had been held up because Council President Jon Snyder, Ward 4, had been seeking to get an amendment to the pact. He wanted a clause that would have prohibited Canton from requiring a property owner to agree to be annexed into Canton in return for the city’s approval of a sewer-connection permit.
Snyder said last week it was his understanding that Canton was refusing to grant the permit for that reason to TMI Hospitality of Fargo, N.D., which plans to build a hotel at the site of the former Burger King restaurant at Everhard Road NW, east of Whipple Avenue NW. Snyder said North Canton wanted to sell its water to the site, which likely would not happen if Canton annexed the property.
Snyder’s comments angered Canton’s annexation coordinator Sam Sliman, who said Snyder had “no business” linking the sewage plant upgrades to Canton’s annexation plans. He suggested North Canton build its own sewage plant.
While Snyder did not get Canton to agree to a change to the agreement, Snyder allowed council’s vote on the agreement to proceed because he said TMI’s on-site engineer, Hammontree & Associates, had discovered that the permit issuer was the Stark County Sanitary Engineering Department because its lines connected to the site, even though the sewage would go to Canton. He said because TMI ended up getting the permit, he considered the matter moot.
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North Canton Monday meeting
• Finance Director Karen Alger said income-tax revenue the first quarter was about $44,000 higher than a year ago. She anticipates income-tax revenue will be 4 percent higher in 2013 than 2012. Due to lower property values, property-tax revenue is down about 7 percent so far this year. She said due to state cuts, local government funding will decline this year by $88,500 from last year. The city’s income from renting the former Arrowhead golf course, the Dogwood Park shelter, the Civic Center and other city facilities have declined by nearly $15,000 in the first quarter from the prior year. Money from fines, license fees and permit fees rose more than $42,000 for the quarter. Total general-fund revenue for the first quarter is up nearly $24,000.
• Councilman Doug Foltz, Ward 1, proposed that council spend $50,000 from a recent $150,000 bequeath from a deceased resident on laying and grading gravel on the city’s vacant lot on East Maple Street to provide additional parking for the Little League fields and the Hoover Trail. Council appears ready to overrule the Planning Commission’s vote last month against providing the parking. Foltz said cars are parking on Walsh Avenue SE, and it’s not safe to have so many people crossing Maple without a crosswalk.
Page 2 of 2 - • Foltz also proposed increasing the fee to rent half of the indoor shelter at Dogwood Park from $75 to $100, to help pay the cost of remodeling the shelter’s kitchen, fixing the façade and installing a new partition. But he wants to reduce the Saturday rental fee for the Civic Center from $1,200 to a more-competitive $900. Demand has been insufficient to rent the center every Saturday.
• Councilwoman Stephanie Werren, Ward 3, said she would like to amend the municipal code to make its references more gender neutral. For example, “councilman” would become “councilperson.”
• Snyder said more than 45 people who own homes in areas prone to flooding from the Zimber Ditch have expressed interest in selling their homes at market price to the government as part of a Ohio Environmental Protection Agency program. The homes would be demolished, and future construction would be prohibited in the flood plain. He said state Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, and John Hoopingarner, executive director for the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, will meet with the residents at the Civic Center at 6:30 p.m. April 25 to discuss the program and how much the district could contribute to it.
Up Next Council will hear 6:30 p.m. Monday from an AEP executive who will explain the utility’s tree-trimming policies in response to the many residents who have complained that AEP’s contractor excessively “hacked” trees in the city.