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East Cleveland General Fund Starts 2019 In Positive Territory

A flag flies outside East Cleveland city hall in 2015. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
A flag flies outside East Cleveland city hall in 2015.

East Cleveland is looking at some positive financial news: The city’s general fund, which covers salaries and benefits for most employees, ended 2018 in the black.

The city began the year with a $1.3 million deficit in the general fund, according to the state. But the fund started 2019 with a positive balance of about $375,000.

The state auditor’s office presented the year-end budget numbers at a state financial planning and supervision commission meeting Thursday afternoon.

When the state placed East Cleveland in fiscal emergency in 2012, the city faced $5.8 million in deficits across all city funds. By the end of 2018, after years of spending cuts, the city had shaved down those deficits to under $240,000.  

East Cleveland also eliminated a debt that’s been hanging over its head for years: $740,000 owed to Kaiser Permanente, which was taken over by HealthSpan, for healthcare coverage. The city paid 30 cents on the dollar to wipe that away, Tisha Turner from the state auditor’s office said this week.

But the city is not out of the woods yet. An auditor’s report last November found dozens of issues in East Cleveland’s accounting methods. For instance, the city doesn’t complete a regular inventory of major assets like land, buildings or vehicles.

Turner said East Cleveland will spend this year working to fix those problems.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.