FitzGerald Envisions Future Where County Provides Most Services

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald continues to pursue a more regional approach to government in Northeast Ohio. ideastream's Bill Rice reports FitzGerald has been adding details to what's being called the Western Reserve Plan for more regional cooperation.

Since he took office as Cuyahoga County's first County Executive, FitzGerald has been encouraging more collaboration and sharing of resources and services between local cities and townships. Speaking to a gathering of government officials Tuesday, Fitgerald said it's unlikely that we'll ever see a merging of county and local communities into one government, such as occurred in Indianapolis in 1970.

FitzGerald 2: "We've studied the way that happened. You had a central city that basically absorbed the surrounding communities. You had unicorporated areas, rural areas that had no utilities, no real tax base, no infrastructure...

In short, FitzGerald says, the governmental make-up of Indianapolis and the surrounding area municipalities bore little resemblance to Cuyahoga Countiy, where cities and towns have been home ruled and self sufficient for a more than a hundred years. But Fitzgerald does see a county government evolving over time as a central provider of services.

FitzGerald 1: "If every year we provide two or three more services, and we become a trusted provided of those services, what you can see happening is for the first time you have a practical path to regionalism. You're not asking people to give up their rights. You're asking them does this make economic sense to you? Go forward ten, fifteen years, and you can see a future where the county is providing most - possibly - most traditional city services."

Fitzgerald cites human resources, health benefits, web design, information technology and law enforcement as services the county already provides.

Bill Rice, 90.3.

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