The city and the North Canton Area Chamber of Commerce will partner on attracting and retaining business.

NORTH CANTON The city and the North Canton Area Chamber of Commerce will partner on attracting and retaining business.

At Monday's City Council meeting, the city announced plans to contract with the Chamber for economic development work.

The city would pay the Chamber up to $15,000 a year — $1,000 a month plus any extra funds needed for marketing or other efforts, said Councilman Mark Cerreta, at-large. 

Chamber President Doug Lane would be the point person on all economic development discussions, to ensure confidentiality for businesses. Lane would report to monthly to the city as well as give a quarterly presentation, Cerreta said.

The Chamber is the front line of new business in North Canton, Lane said.

The Chamber is often the first call developers or business owners make when considering North Canton. Instead of needing to direct business owners to call the city to secure permits or other requirements, the Chamber can walk through the process with them, he said.

The partnership will energize and strengthen the city's economic development, said Mayor David J. Held.

The city has not finalized the contract for the arrangement.

The partnership ties into other changes in North Canton's economic development arena.

The city's current Director of Permits and Economic Development Gary Fry is stepping down to return to his private practice, Held said.

The duties of both permits and economic development is too much for one position, Held said.

In response, the city is dividing the job in two. It plans to advertise for a Chief Building Officer who would handle the jobs of commercial and residential permits as well as nuisances.

A second position, Director of Community Development, will be filled by Jim Davis, the city's current Superintendent of Services and Utilities.

Davis will retain some of his current duties so the new position is more of an expansion, Held said.

Davis' job won't be filled, but some of his duties will instead be relegated to two operations managers within the department, he said.

Fry began the job in September and will stay on part-time until the new positions are filled.

CRA Settlement

City Council adopted two settlement agreements — one with North Canton City Schools and one with North Ridge LLC, the developers of the North Ridge Apartments on North Main Street — over a controversial Community Residential Area tax abatement awarded to North Ridge.

The settlement calls for North Ridge to pay the schools essentially the equivalent of 50 percent of the abated taxes — a payment of $20,080 in 2017 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. Council adopted an ordinance authorizing those payments.

A fourth ordinance adopted Monday sets up a fund where North Ridge's payments will be collected and distributed to the schools. 

Other Business

• Council heard an update on the North Canton Community Garden. The garden has a year-to-year contract to use land owned by North Canton City Schools but would like a more permanent arrangement. 

• Approved allocating funds for two parks projects: $120,000 donated by the late Earl Stockert to complete the first half of the Price Park walking trail and $95,000 to rebuild the tennis courts at Eastwood Park.

• Approved accepting bids to repair the city hall portico. The bids would not specify an amount, allowing the city to research the cost of the project.

• Approved accepting bids for a backup generator for city hall.

Council will hold a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday to consider an unspecified capital project.

After that meeting, council will be on summer break. The next scheduled regular meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, at City Hall.

Reach Jessica at 330-580-8322 or

On Twitter: @jholbrookREP.