City Council discussed a $10,000 occupancy tax grant to entice the public relations and marketing company Crowl, Montgomery & Clark, Inc., into moving into a South Main Street building.
The company, which has nearly 20 employees and has a $750,000 pay roll, now is leasing a building located in the New Berlin Commons plaza, near , and . The company plans to move into a building near .
"We're very excited this property is purchased," Council-at-large Marcia Kiesling said at the council meeting Monday night. "It's been for sale for quite a while. It needs some major refurbishment. And this retention grant is going toward all of the upgrades inside and outside the building."
Resident Chuck Osborne shared his concerns about the occupancy grant. He said the city doesn't need to give the company its "desperately needed funds" to stay in North Canton because they already are located in the city (in the New Berlin Commons plaza) and they have already bought the property on South Main Street.
"I urge you to spend this money as if it's your own money," Osborne said. "And if it's clear that the business that you're talking to cannot make a financial go of it without some incentives ... there's no reason to give out the money."
But Mayor David Held considered it a win for the city. The company plans to invest $40,000 to renovate the building. And, he said it's retention grants such as the one being discussed for Crowl, Montgomery & Clark that help the city regain its income tax revenue after the loss of the Hoover Company.
"You have to keep in mind we are competing with cities that have incentive packages," he said after Osborne's remarks.
"Now I know that you could argue "Are they really going to leave (the city) or not leave,'" but from my perspective, I'd rather not test it," Held said. "I think it's a good deal for the city to keep the income tax of a $750,000 payroll."
Ward 1 Councilman Doug Foltz also saw it as a positive move for the city. He said it's likely the employees will eat at the nearby residents and create more foot traffic on South Main Street.
"The more businesses that we have that are occupied, or the more properties we have that are occupied, on Main Street ... makes for a more vibrant city."
Council approved its first reading of the ordinance that night.