Neighbors Help East Cleveland with EMS Response; County Brokers Snowplow Deal

East Cleveland city hall (ideastream file photo by Nick Castele)
East Cleveland city hall (ideastream file photo by Nick Castele)
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East Cleveland's list of unpaid bills stretches back two years, and many of its emergency vehicles are said to be in need of upgrades.

The city owed $2.7 million in November, according to state financial supervision commission documents. And while the city is answering emergency calls, several fire and EMS vehicles were out of service as recently as last August, the documents show.

University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld said her city -- and other suburbs -- have been sending their ambulances to respond to calls that East Cleveland can't get to.

"It was rising to a level where we were all fearful that it would begin to impact the delivery of service to our own residents," Infeld said.

She and other east side mayors have asked Cuyahoga County for help. Infeld said possible solutions include asking more suburbs help field East Cleveland calls -- or requesting money from the county.

"Every mayor felt there was a collective human moral obligation to help East Cleveland provide EMS care to their residents," she said.

No firm plans have come together yet.

Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced his administration has brokered a deal with Huntington Bank to help East Cleveland with another service -- snow plows.

Huntington Bank will put up money for East Cleveland to buy two new snowplow trucks. Under this plan, the city would pay back the bank with federal community development dollars. The agreement still must be approved by East Cleveland city council, which meets the first and third Tuesday of each month.

“Cuyahoga County’s swift involvement with this deal was critical to assisting East Cleveland, but more importantly, it will ensure that our residents get necessary snow removal for this winter," East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton said in a statement provided by the county.

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