Jackson Asks For Private Sector Help in State of the City Address
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says Clevelanders no longer have the inferiority complex that they had when he first became mayor. In his State of the City address today (Thurs) Jackson said things are looking up but new investments are needed and he wants help from outside City Hall. Ideastream’s Mark Urycki has details
Mayor Frank Jackson wandered the stage of Public Hall like Steve Jobs and a product announcement or a professor at a TED talk. He had some favors to ask.
Cleveland City Hall led a public/private partnership to reform Cleveland Schools and to pass a levy 4 years ago. Jackson says the district has shown signs of success and it’s now time to renew that levy.
He also asked voters to increase the city’s income tax a half percent. After a cut in state support, a drop in property taxes, and the elimination of red light cameras Jackson says Cleveland has seen an annual loss in revenues of $63 million dollars.
“The only thing left for Cleveland to do in 2017 is to lay off employees and to cut or eliminate service.”
Jackson needs to spend more money on the police department due to a federal consent decree and he wants to spend $25 million dollars a year on a new fund aimed at developing the poorest neighborhoods.
“The current tools we have and the resources we have work very well downtown or neighborhoods that are doing well. They don’t work well in other areas. So we’ll be developing strategies around these areas and work with the private sector and philanthropies to create an approach to that.”
He says rather than subsidize them, he wants to transform them.
“This is not a nice thing to do; we’re not trying to be nice. This is not a nice thing; this is a necessity.”
The mayor was asked about lead abatement in the city’s older housing stock. Once again he said the city needs help from the private sector to fix all the houses in need.
“We might do 200-300 houses a year with the resources we have but that’s drop in the bucket, less than a drop in a bucket.”
Jackson told the audience of about 900 that a city is measured by the well-being of its people, “particularly the least of us.”
Click here to watch the entire State of the City address hosted by the City Club of Cleveland.