East Cleveland Council to Consider Merger Talks with Cleveland
by Nick Castele
The leaders of East Cleveland city council say they will take up legislation soon to begin annexation talks with neighboring Cleveland.
Council Vice President Brandon King says he’s also hoping to hire a consultant to study his financially distressed suburb.
“What we’re looking for is an independent opinion on the wherewithal, moving forward, of the city,” King said. “We know that annexation negotiations are definitely wanted, so we’re moving forward with that.”
Some council members discussed their plans in a closed executive session yesterday evening, over the objections of other members and many of the residents in attendance. Two council members walked out in protest before the session began, and a police officer ushered members of the public from the room.
Any merger deal would need the agreement of Cleveland city council. Under state law, each city council would appoint three commissioners to hash out the terms of annexation, which would then go to East Cleveland voters.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton gathered petition signatures last year to jump-start annexation talks, but council members refused to act on them. Now, Norton said, the merger plan should move forward, “as long as Cleveland appoints three commissioners.”