City Council held a second vote on settlement agreements for a controversial tax abatement, approved sending several charter changes to the voters and moved ahead with city park projects at its busy Monday meeting.

NORTH CANTON City Council held a second vote on settlement agreements for a controversial tax abatement, approved sending several charter changes to the voters and moved ahead with city park projects at its busy Monday meeting.

Monday's regular meeting agenda had 37 items and council read 24 pieces of legislation. Council also held a special committee meeting following the regular meeting.

Council adopted the second reading of two related ordinances that would authorize the city to enter into settlement agreements with North Canton City Schools and North Ridge LLC, the developers of the North Ridge Apartments on North Main Street.

In 2012, developers were awarded a 12-year, 100 percent residential property tax abatement under the city's now defunct Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) program. Several parties, including the school district, argued that the abatement was improperly awarded.

The agreements would require North Ridge to pay the schools essentially the equivalent of 50 percent of the abated taxes — a payment of $20,080 in 2017. North Ridge will begin making those payments in the second half of 2017 and continue them until the abatement expires in 2025. The city will pay the district an estimated $71,000 for taxes forgone in 2014-16 and the first part of 2017.

In turn, the school agreed to dismiss its complaint against North Ridge. Complaints made by other parties can still move forward.

The North Canton Board of Education approved its part of the agreement last week.

Council intended to hold an emergency vote to accept the settlement after two readings,  but did not have enough council members present to do so. Council will have its final vote on the settlements July 10.

Council also held the second reading of an ordinance to allocate the $71,000 to the district. 

The city will collect the funds from North Ridge and distribute them to the school district. Council held the second reading an ordinance to establish an agency fund for those allocations.

Charter Review

Council adopted the final reading on several proposed changes to the city charter.

Every 10 years, the city completes a Charter Review. A 15-member committee, appointed by council, met to discuss possible changes to the charter. Their recommendations were sent to council, which debated and sometimes modified the recommendations, as well as proposed their own changes.

Those recommendations that made it through three readings will go to the voters for final approval and will be placed on the ballot this November. 

Price Park, Eastwood tennis courts

Council adopted the second reading of two ordinances to accept bids for projects at city parks.

The first ordinance would authorize the city to accept bids for the first phase of a project to reconstruct the walking path at Price Park. The city has allocated up to $120,000 in donated funds for the project.

The walking path is a great asset to the city, said Council Vice President Doug Foltz, Ward One.

The second ordinance would authorize the city to accept bids of up to $95,000 for the reconstruction of the tennis courts at Eastwood Park. 

The courts are in bad condition and need to be rebuilt, Foltz said.

New chief

Prior to the 7 p.m. council meeting, Mayor David J. Held swore-in new Police Chief John R. Minock in front of a crowd of family, friends and coworkers.

The city's police, fire and EMS departments are highly rated by residents, Held said.

And police officers have the toughest jobs in the country, he said. 

"John's presence in every aspect, whether he's dealing with somebody who's not a nice person or whether he's dealing with the good people of North Canton, he's always respectful, always professional," Held said.

City Administrator and former Police Chief Mike Grimes praised Minnock's attention to detail and ability to connect with people.

Minnock is known for having integrity, Grimes said. "That to me is his strongest suit. We just know the integrity John has and that he brings to the department."

Many of the emergency personnel wore black bars over their badges in honor of Dru Rhodes, a firefighter and paramedic with the North Canton Fire Department and a part-time North Canton police officer.

Rhodes, 39, died Sunday in an off-duty car crash in Monroe County.

Grimes asked for a moment of silence to remember Rhodes.

Rhodes began working for the city in 1991 and was one of the city's first combination employees. He also was trained as a special police officer, Grimes said.

Rhodes was an all-around good guy, Grimes said.

"He was a guy with a lot of ideas, exuberance. A lot of energy that he brought the city," he said.

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or jessica.holbrook@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.