Should North Canton Have Footed the Bill for Romney Rally? (With Poll)
One resident speaks out about his displeasure in North Canton paying for the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan rally that took place Oct. 26 at Hoover High
One North Canton resident thinks a policy about what they city will or won't contribute to a political campaign could save the city money in the future.
Jeff Weltman doesn't agree the city should be responsible for costs associated with the Oct. 26 Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan rally at Hoover High and spoke out at Monday night's North Canton City Council meeting.
To Weltman, it seems the city was duped by the Romney campaign.
"They take advantage of whoever they need to take advantage of, and then you're gone like yesterday's newspaper," Weltman said. "I realize the dilemma the administration found itself in in this situation. But what we have here is somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000 of an involuntary contribution by taxpayers to a political campaign. That bothers me a great deal."
Mayor David Held said it was a dilemma, agreeing to host the rally with short notice. He was under the impression the campaign would "operate in good faith" and pay. But, he said the issue never was settled beforehand.
In a story titled "Taxpayers on the hook for Romney rally costs," the Canton Repository reports the Romney campaign declined to reimburse both the city and Stark County the $14,500 it incurred by providing private security, firefighter coverage and other services.
"I don't regret making the decision; I do regret we didn't get reimbursed because we were on the understanding that we were operating under good faith."
Held sees the Romney/Ryan rally as a learning experience, and the city will be more prepared in dealing with a presidential campaign in the future.
"For the next presidential campaign, we really have four years to formulate our position as far as how we're going to manage this," Held said. "And hopefully we do have another opportunity where presidential candidates are coming to town."
That answer wasn't good enough for Weltman.
"If there's not sufficient time to plan an event, maybe that event ought not be held," Weltman said. "The costs ought to be checked first."
Councilman-at-large Mark Cerreta saw the rally, in which 10,000 people attended, as an investment in North Canton.
"That really puts us out there as a city," Cerreta said. "All those people came to our town, came to our restaurants, our businesses."