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Cleveland Council Adds About $8 Million To Budget

Cleveland City Hall [Matt Richmond / ideastream]

Cleveland City Council and Mayor Frank Jackson's office have agreed on a few changes to the city’s 2017 budget. 

The $600 million general fund budget includes expansions of the public safety and code enforcement departments, as well as within the mayor’s office. Council added $5 million for house demolitions, 1 million for housing rehabs, money for park projects in each council district and for a new youth summer employment program.

Councilman Mike Polensek supported those additions, but questioned whether more could be spent on service enhancements.

“This council has given up a substantial amount of its influence over the last several years," said Polensek.

He asked for more patrol officers, street sweeping and youth summer employment. Council president Kevin Kelley defended council’s work.

“I’m not sure what authority we’ve given up. I’m looking at the budget and the reconciliation efforts that were undertaken by myself, council leadership, yourself, our staff, by my math, we’ve picked up eight million. We didn’t give anything up," said Kelley.

There was no public discussion of councilmembers’ proposed amendments. Kelley requested those by e-mail, they were discussed over the weekend and the changes were presented in the finance committee. Some members criticized the lack of a full hearing on those proposed changes.

“There was a process in the past where we sat down, immediately thereafter, the next day, within the body to discuss reconciliation, hash it out, come up with some of our priorities. That didn’t happen. It’s going to be water over the dam from my perspective," said Polensek.

A final vote on the budget is scheduled for March 27.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.