Budish Unveils Plans For The Year
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish delivered his third State of the County speech Wednesday at the Convention Center in Cleveland. He started by defending two big projects that received county support earlier this year – a rebuild of MetroHealth’s main campus and renovation of Quicken Loans Arena. The new items on the county executive's agenda all had smaller price tags. There’s a program called First Year Cleveland that will expand its prenatal care and family nursing efforts aimed at lowering infant mortality rates. Libraries will get county service offices. And Budish announced an expansion of pre-kindergarten funding.
“Beginning this fall, we will double the number of children in high quality pre-schools from 2,000 to 4,000. This truly will be transformative for our region’s future," said Budish.
Ten million dollars for the pre-school expansion funding comes from the county budget and $13 million from private donations. The private funds are meant to last for four years. Budish said the county is looking for ways to make it a permanent expansion. Budish also mentioned, during the question-and-answer session, a large new collaboration with the City of Cleveland, possibly a deal for a new Justice Center, but wouldn’t give details.
Budish also addressed during the Q-and-A seesion the steps being taken to fix the region’s lead contamination issues.
Budish acknowledged that much work remains to be done.
“Most important - we don’t have enough money. And the money comes from the federal government primarily. And the money’s been cut and sliced and cut again," said Armond Budish. "And the best thing that everybody in this room can do is contact your elected representatives, your federal elected representatives. We need their help, this is an area we need help.”
A 2015 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found about 10% of children tested in Cuyahoga County had lead poisoning, the highest rate in Ohio.
Click here to watch the State of the County address convened by the City Club of Cleveland.