Mayor Makes Second Attempt at Merger Talks Between Cleveland and East Cleveland
by Nick Castele
Advocates of merger negotiations between Cleveland and East Cleveland are trying again to amass voter support for the idea.
Mayor Gary Norton and his allies started a petition drive last summer urging city council to enter annexation proceedings with Cleveland. But that effort came to a halt earlier this month after a judge ruled the board of election’s certification of voter signatures was insufficient.
Now, Norton says he’s circulating a new batch of petitions. They’ll be available at a community meeting planned for Monday evening, according to a newsletter from the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope, an East Cleveland nonprofit.
The state declared East Cleveland in fiscal emergency in 2012, finding in its audits that the city was spending beyond its dwindling means. Revenues have been dropping for years in East Cleveland as residents have left.
In recent years, the city cut its budget under the watch of state auditors. East Cleveland leaders drafted a recovery plan calling for cautious spending and possible shared services with nearby communities.