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Transition Team Floats Plan To Slash Cuyahoga County Budget

Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 5:28 PM

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The transition committee tasked with re-inventing Cuyahoga County government went public Thursday afternoon, and started to map out some major changes. Top of the list is a budget cut in order to fund new jobs. ideastream's Rick Jackson reports.

Looking at an estimated Cuyahoga County budget of more than 310 million dollars for 2010, the committee leading the transition team says its goals include cutting that budget by 15% and then using the roughly $50 million savings, in local job creation.

The leadership group is made up of current county officials and department heads, plus the political and community leadership that sucessfully pushed a re-structuring of county governemt in last fall’s election.

Former Parma Heights Mayor Martin Zanotti - who co-chairs the committee says the level of co-operation thus far has been strong. But he warns that tough decisions lie ahead.

MARTIN ZANOTTI:
“We really expect the committee to tear apart the current form of county government… and we really want to look at how we do business in the county today, and can we do it more efficiently, more effectively? Do we have the systems that we need? Do we have too much duplication?”

Zanotti says everything in the general fund is on the table for potential cuts, and that proposed changes will allow Cuyahoga County to create a government that also serves as an economic development engine for the region.

But he also expressed fear that financially pressed voters may not approve the usual extratax levies that are put on the ballot in the spring. 

ZANOTTI:
“We will basically cut off the new executive and the council at the knees, if they are dealing with the loss of those funds.”

The group aims to reach out to the city of Cleveland as well as the suburbs to more fully include them in county business.

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