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Northeast Ohio: Regionalism News & Discussion

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On 2/1/2019 at 8:10 AM, viscomi said:

I recently read somewhere that cities that havent gone the annex route i.e. Cleveland, might be better off in the long run. The center city wont be on the hook to deal with these low desity overbuilt infrastructure places when they start failing and become financially insolvent, which they most likely will due to the very nature they were built. Sure you can try to retro fit them but that seems like an uphill battle. 

I hadent thought about it that way but its an interesting take and I could see it possibly playing out that way.

 

Vox's podcast, The Impact, recently had an episode on Memphis and the challenges they faced due to the communities they annexed. The general takeaway was that the city ended up gaining some tax revenue but that was outweighed by the increase in expenses due to the high cost of providing services to the low density suburbs. They are currently in the process of de-annexing some suburbs.

 

Not sure this applies to every city that went the annex route and not sure if Columbus has experienced similar issues, but I think it is something to consider. Perhaps it would be better for Cleveland and some of the inner-ring suburbs to merge with each other (and then some outer ring suburbs merging with each other). But I'm sure some services could be merged/shared across the entire county.

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Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judges John J. Russo and David Matia want consolidation of municipal courts to be considered

 

This quote at the end really caught my eye:

 

County Executive Armond Budish and the County Council should bring together a group to discuss court consolidation and other aspects of regionalism, Russo said, including an analysis of whether it makes sense to merge all the municipal police departments into one countywide police force.

 

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/02/cuyahoga-county-common-pleas-judges-john-j-russo-and-david-matia-want-consolidation-of-municipal-courts-to-be-considered.html

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14 hours ago, Enginerd said:

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judges John J. Russo and David Matia want consolidation of municipal courts to be considered

 

This quote at the end really caught my eye:

 

County Executive Armond Budish and the County Council should bring together a group to discuss court consolidation and other aspects of regionalism, Russo said, including an analysis of whether it makes sense to merge all the municipal police departments into one countywide police force.

 

 

The frustrated Chief Judge wants to be the County Executive; and the phlegmatic County Executive would be much happier as Chief Judge.

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There's nothing wrong with optimism, as long as you don't get your hopes up.

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Merging the courts is a great idea. There are already many great examples of municipalities in the county sharing courts - and others who go it alone where costs can be lowered, and the services provided can be improved.

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Great article.  It is a start.  Very interesting facts/figures regarding the waste that is our convoluted/multiplicative local government.  Also interesting to read about the disparate revenue generation avenues for cities near highways versus cities away from highways.  I think regionalism would benefit most/all in the long run, but it would likely be a stronger benefit for our more urban cities which would be great. 

 

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/02/st-louis-can-teach-cleveland-a-lot-about-tackling-the-debilitating-disorder-of-too-much-government.html

 

 

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Another great article.  Emphasizes the urgency of this matter and the potential opportunity.  "In Cleveland, a successful metro government movement would result in the city skyrocketing from the nation’s 52nd to 10th largest city."  

 

"Since 1975, all 179 communities in the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul region have participated in this simple plan: Communities that experience growth in their commercial and industrial tax base each year keep 60 percent of that growth and share the remaining 40 percent with communities that have no tax-base growth, or a loss of growth.

Bier said that, since 1990, the Minneapolis-St. Paul region has added 422,000 jobs, the Cleveland-Akron region only 68,000."

 

People in surrounding counties do not pay their fair share and it is imploding the whole region.  The region needs to bite the bullet in order to have a chance to thrive again.

 

https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2019/03/suburban-sprawl-has-already-devoured-clevelands-seed-corn-now-its-threatening-the-region-brent-larkin.html

 

 

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I think the combined city/county/region idea is so fascinating. Suburbs would definitely have to pay their fair share in taxes in order to compensate the massive tax burden to run utilities far out of the city center. Otherwise costs would all fall on the core. There are some valid points against it that would have to overcome for sure, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.  

 

Also, I've always been fascinated by the Minneapolis tax-sharing plan. It could really equal the playing field for some of the disparaged communities around Cleveland and help distribute some of the growth and development

 

If anyone is interested in the city/county mergers and city annexation/de-annexation, Vox's podcast The Impact did an episode called 'The incredible shrinking city' that talks about Memphis and the troubles that it has with annexing suburbs and why its right-sizing itself. 

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7 hours ago, Lucas_uLsac said:

I think the combined city/county/region idea is so fascinating. Suburbs would definitely have to pay their fair share in taxes in order to compensate the massive tax burden to run utilities far out of the city center. Otherwise costs would all fall on the core. There are some valid points against it that would have to overcome for sure, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.  

 

Also, I've always been fascinated by the Minneapolis tax-sharing plan. It could really equal the playing field for some of the disparaged communities around Cleveland and help distribute some of the growth and development

 

If anyone is interested in the city/county mergers and city annexation/de-annexation, Vox's podcast The Impact did an episode called 'The incredible shrinking city' that talks about Memphis and the troubles that it has with annexing suburbs and why its right-sizing itself. 

 

Once again.....even mentioning the "A word" in northeastern Ohio poisons discussions of worthwhile and practical regionalization proposals.  Even in the inner ring, their would be venomous opposition.  In the outer ring, the f-word that would come to mind among the powers that be isn't "fascinating".   I have trouble imagining a less popular idea in the Akron-Cleveland borderlands than merging with either.

The state legislature would side with the suburbs .   Emphatically.  Not only do they have 2X the population, but they are "in play" politically while the city is not.    The Republicans would oppose it on general principles, and likely gain points in the suburbs for doing so.   They have nothing to lose in the cities.   The Democrats have plenty to lose in the suburbs, so would have to side with them as well.  They might even take a couple punitive shots at whoever proposed such a doomed and divisive thing.

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There are a million ways to achieve the benefits of regionalization. Annexation is probably the most extreme. And the process of achieving it should not be forced. Get what we when we can.

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"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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1 hour ago, KJP said:

There are a million ways to achieve the benefits of regionalization. Annexation is probably the most extreme. And the process of achieving it should not be forced. Get what we when we can.

 

The thing is, those areas I referred to above as the "borderlands" do a lot of regionalization.   Macedonia fire department covers the whole Nordonia area except Northfield Village.  Walton Hills uses Oakwood's (IIRC) fire department.   The Nordonia school district covers several towns.   Northfield Center is patrolled by the Summit County Sheriff.   

 

Lots of opportunites abound and it's even popular among places where "density" is a curse word.   But attempting to force it is usually counterproductive.

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In Cuyahoga County the court systems have been regionalized for a long time.  Would Brecksville ever agree to merge with Garfield Heights?  It pretty much already did.

cuyahoga-municipal-courtspng-01543cc892dde268.png

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I feel like Buddish’s call to modify court system should be met with extreme skepticism given the recent FBI raids. 

 

Who benefits most?

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No one said regionalism would be easy or pleasing to everyone.  But the data and facts absolutely confirm that the area's immense inefficiency is holding it back.  Other regions are thriving and leaving this region behind.  Just because something is hard, doesn't mean it shouldn't be pursued.  It's a choice of dying a slow death or setting the region up for a brighter future.  Cleveland has a lot of things in its favor.  The pace of its improvement will largely be determined by the region's ability to cooperate and to fairly charge for services and tax its citizens, in a way that most effectively promotes economic growth.  Subsidizing distant suburbs and exurbs in the numerous ways that they are, will continue to bring on that slow death and persistent economic inferiority.  I agree that the state will likely be of little help.  But so goes the region, so goes the state as well.  If we care about this place, we should fight for it.  The state should as well, unless it is ok with becoming the Mississippi of the North.   

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Cities are way more resilient than suburbs. As the population shift back to the city continues, it will gain more and more power. 

 

Regionalism is going to happen here, it's just a matter of when.

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I've long been a proponent of merging all the cities of our county into one govt. Other cities in the US that have completed a merger have shown its effectiveness and fiscal efficiencies. Unfortunately I doubt a merger is likely for our county. That would require progressive thought and its simply not possible. Sure, we do have many progressive thinkers here but they are in the distinct minority. 

 

Cuyahoga County is comprised of people more interested in hanging on to their turf than doing something that would benefit the greater good. You could show them data that would indicate the advantages of county govt. You could show them data that would indicate the gross inefficiencies in our existing system and they wouldn't budge. They simply don't care. They're ostriches with their heads in the sand. They own their little piece of the pie and screw the rest. 

 

Why some regions thrive while others stagnate are myriad but surely myopic thinking is one example as to why we continue to struggle. And that's not changing anytime soon. How many of us on these forums know people who left because of our backward thinking? There's a reason some regions continue to struggle - progressive thinkers leave for more fertile grounds leaving the backward thinkers in the majority. And they will decide policy. 

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4 hours ago, cadmen said:

I've long been a proponent of merging all the cities of our county into one govt. Other cities in the US that have completed a merger have shown its effectiveness and fiscal efficiencies. Unfortunately I doubt a merger is likely for our county. That would require progressive thought and its simply not possible. Sure, we do have many progressive thinkers here but they are in the distinct minority. 

 

Cuyahoga County is comprised of people more interested in hanging on to their turf than doing something that would benefit the greater good. You could show them data that would indicate the advantages of county govt. You could show them data that would indicate the gross inefficiencies in our existing system and they wouldn't budge. They simply don't care. They're ostriches with their heads in the sand. They own their little piece of the pie and screw the rest. 

 

Why some regions thrive while others stagnate are myriad but surely myopic thinking is one example as to why we continue to struggle. And that's not changing anytime soon. How many of us on these forums know people who left because of our backward thinking? There's a reason some regions continue to struggle - progressive thinkers leave for more fertile grounds leaving the backward thinkers in the majority. And they will decide policy. 

 

You would probably get a 90% vote against merger in all of the suburbs not named East Cleveland, for a number of reasons.     Even the inner ring burbs.   Quite frankly, I suspect a much higher percentage of Collinwood residents would vote to secede than Euclid residents would vote to annex.  The Cuyahoga County suburbs alone have twice the population of the city and more than twice the clout in Columbus for the simple reason that they are in play in statewide elections.

 

Voluntary merger is quite simply not going to happen.  Even discussing annexation includes the implicit assumption that it would be involuntary.   This poisons even the discussion of constructive regionalization.   That's political reality.   It's best to move forwards from there.

 

Some lines of discussion do your cause more harm than good.

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12 hours ago, E Rocc said:

 

Once again.....even mentioning the "A word" in northeastern Ohio poisons discussions of worthwhile and practical regionalization proposals.  Even in the inner ring, their would be venomous opposition.  In the outer ring, the f-word that would come to mind among the powers that be isn't "fascinating".   I have trouble imagining a less popular idea in the Akron-Cleveland borderlands than merging with either.

The state legislature would side with the suburbs .   Emphatically.  Not only do they have 2X the population, but they are "in play" politically while the city is not.    The Republicans would oppose it on general principles, and likely gain points in the suburbs for doing so.   They have nothing to lose in the cities.   The Democrats have plenty to lose in the suburbs, so would have to side with them as well.  They might even take a couple punitive shots at whoever proposed such a doomed and divisive thing.

 

One of the built in disadvantages of being legacy city is the regions already entrenched sense of localism scattered across the metro. Younger cities have the advantage of not having a plethora of communities that have long established residents and sense of identity. So you're not wrong. this likely won't come to fruition anytime soon. 

 

For many of Kasich's flaws, one of the interesting things I did like that he was a proponent of was the consolidated government model. Were he still governor and a major city proposed this, he likely would have be a vocal advocate of it and possibly rally enough support for it to happen. But I don't see it happening under DeWine. 

 

  

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10 hours ago, 327 said:

In Cuyahoga County the court systems have been regionalized for a long time.  Would Brecksville ever agree to merge with Garfield Heights?  It pretty much already did.

cuyahoga-municipal-courtspng-01543cc892dde268.png

 

Municipal Courts courts in Cuyahoga County, while topically looking like a good example of regionalism here because the for the most part cover multiple municipalities, are actually a terrible example. Nowhere else in the state is so fragmented. Franklin County has one municipal court. Hamilton has one. Our city prosecutor was joking about this earlier this week and said a common joke is "there's the state of Ohio, and then there's the Great State of Cuyahoga County".The judicial environment here is entirely foreign to anyone in the rest of the state. How a judge operates in South Euclid may be completely different than in Cleveland Hts. It calls into question proper due process.

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11 hours ago, PoshSteve said:

 

Municipal Courts courts in Cuyahoga County, while topically looking like a good example of regionalism here because the for the most part cover multiple municipalities, are actually a terrible example. Nowhere else in the state is so fragmented. Franklin County has one municipal court. Hamilton has one. Our city prosecutor was joking about this earlier this week and said a common joke is "there's the state of Ohio, and then there's the Great State of Cuyahoga County".The judicial environment here is entirely foreign to anyone in the rest of the state. How a judge operates in South Euclid may be completely different than in Cleveland Hts. It calls into question proper due process.

 

Summit County has three.  It has about 40% of the population of Cuyahoga County as well.

 

I'm actually quite good with the different courts.   If liberal Shaker Heights wants to elect lenient judges while Berea and Strongsville take the opposite approach, that's fine.  Let's see what happens.

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47 minutes ago, E Rocc said:

 

Summit County has three.  It has about 40% of the population of Cuyahoga County as well.

 

I'm actually quite good with the different courts.   If liberal Shaker Heights wants to elect lenient judges while Berea and Strongsville take the opposite approach, that's fine.  Let's see what happens.

 

That's not how it works with judges.  Some of the most lenient are Republicans and vice versa.   Courts in Republican areas do charge higher fees and costs though-- especially Berea, holy smokes.  They're not any tougher on crime, they're just greedy. 

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12 hours ago, PoshSteve said:

 

Municipal Courts courts in Cuyahoga County, while topically looking like a good example of regionalism here because the for the most part cover multiple municipalities, are actually a terrible example. Nowhere else in the state is so fragmented. Franklin County has one municipal court. Hamilton has one. Our city prosecutor was joking about this earlier this week and said a common joke is "there's the state of Ohio, and then there's the Great State of Cuyahoga County".The judicial environment here is entirely foreign to anyone in the rest of the state. How a judge operates in South Euclid may be completely different than in Cleveland Hts. It calls into question proper due process.

 

It serves as proof of concept for those locally who equate mergers with terrorism.  Gotta start somewhere and luckily we already have.  Didn't say it was perfect or ideal, far from it.  But there's often more variation between judges in the same court than there is between courts.

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21 minutes ago, 327 said:

 

It serves as proof of concept for those locally who equate mergers with terrorism.

What? Who says that?

 

And the problem with having multiple municipal courts isn’t the judges themselves. It’s having multiple cost structures, booking systems, bail procedures, availability of public defenders, etc.

 

Sound of Ideas had a great program on this with Judge Russo & Matia of Common Pleas and Shakers Municipal judge.

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Most of the things you mention there are under the control of individual judges and can vary wildly from room to room within the same building.  Bear in mind that this only comes into play in courts that have more than one judge; most muni courts don't.  But it's observable when they do.  I agree that we'd be better off consolidating the courts, just like we'd be better off consolidating other aspects of government.  But much of the variation you describe would still exist, so long as individual judges maintain the power they currently have.

Edited by 327

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Per wikipedia, there are 18 mayors courts in Cuyahoga county and 8 in Sunmit county.  So yes, Cuyahoga county could stand for a bit of merging in their metro courts. 

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1 hour ago, 327 said:

 

That's not how it works with judges.  Some of the most lenient are Republicans and vice versa.   Courts in Republican areas do charge higher fees and costs though-- especially Berea, holy smokes.  They're not any tougher on crime, they're just greedy. 

 

Didn't say Democrats or Republicans, did I?  🙂

 

It's just as well that local judge elections are non-partisan.  Affiliation doesn't have much to do with actual views or intent.

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2 minutes ago, audidave said:

Per wikipedia, there are 18 mayors courts in Cuyahoga county and 8 in Sunmit county.  So yes, Cuyahoga county could stand for a bit of merging in their metro courts. 

 

Not happening.   Mayor's courts are strictly for guilty and no contest pleas, and the fees, fines etc. stay in town.  

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1 minute ago, E Rocc said:

 

Not happening.   Mayor's courts are strictly for guilty and no contest pleas, and the fees, fines etc. stay in town.  

I wasn’t saying merging mayors’ courts. I was just adding that there are a glut of courts all over Cuyahoga county.  That lessens the need for so many metropolitan courts.  I realize the only way to “merge” a mayor’s court will be for towns to merge which likely won’t happen.  

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53 minutes ago, 327 said:

Most of the things you mention there are under the control of individual judges and can vary wildly from room to room within the same building.  Bear in mind that this only comes into play in courts that have more than one judge; most muni courts don't.  But it's observable when they do.  I agree that we'd be better off consolidating the courts, just like we'd be better off consolidating other aspects of government.  But much of the variation you describe would still exist, so long as individual judges maintain the power they currently have.

I’m not sure what I have mentioned that would be different under individual judges, they are all structural issues that having separate courts causes.

 

Here is the link, I suggest those interested give it a listen.

 

https://www.ideastream.org/programs/sound-of-ideas/should-cuyahoga-county-consider-consolidating-courts-statehouse-update

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8 minutes ago, Enginerd said:

I’m not sure what I have mentioned that would be different under individual judges, they are all structural issues that having separate courts causes.

 

Here is the link, I suggest those interested give it a listen.

 

https://www.ideastream.org/programs/sound-of-ideas/should-cuyahoga-county-consider-consolidating-courts-statehouse-update

 

The only thing you mentioned that does not vary by courtroom is booking, which usually varies by police agency.  In many local courts, public defenders are chosen and arranged for by individual judges.  I know that because I am one.  Bail procedures can be unrecognizable from room to room.  Costs can be waived at the judge's discretion.

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1 hour ago, audidave said:

I wasn’t saying merging mayors’ courts. I was just adding that there are a glut of courts all over Cuyahoga county.  That lessens the need for so many metropolitan courts.  I realize the only way to “merge” a mayor’s court will be for towns to merge which likely won’t happen.  

 

The other way would be to send all cases to the municipal court, which would collect the $$

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3 hours ago, 327 said:

 

The only thing you mentioned that does not vary by courtroom is booking, which usually varies by police agency.  In many local courts, public defenders are chosen and arranged for by individual judges.  I know that because I am one.  Bail procedures can be unrecognizable from room to room.  Costs can be waived at the judge's discretion.

What I was getting at is, Cleveland is the only court using risk based bail, and it’s also the only court staffed by the public defenders office.

 

Also that felony cases have their first appearance at these different municipal courts, which streamlining could be addressed by this effort as well.

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36 minutes ago, Enginerd said:

What I was getting at is, Cleveland is the only court using risk based bail, and it’s also the only court staffed by the public defenders office.

 

Also that felony cases have their first appearance at these different municipal courts, which streamlining could be addressed by this effort as well.

 

I agree on the need for reform.  But the PD office would need to hire a ton of new staff to cover everything that assigned counsel covers now... for meager pay and no benefits.  Other counties use assigned counsel too but Cuyahoga is notable for barely paying us.  And yet there's always money to pay for all these court staffs, just like there's always money to pay for all the admin of all these little suburbs. 

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50 minutes ago, 327 said:

 

I agree on the need for reform.  But the PD office would need to hire a ton of new staff to cover everything that assigned counsel covers now... for meager pay and no benefits.  Other counties use assigned counsel too but Cuyahoga is notable for barely paying us.  And yet there's always money to pay for all these court staffs, just like there's always money to pay for all the admin of all these little suburbs. 

I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m not sure it would be actual consolation into one court, but I’m glad someone is talking about it. And I hope the talks get more serious because this should be brought up while the justice center questions are swirling around.

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Imagine our influence and swagger if we lived in a countywide City of Cleveland, the idea behind the latest installment of Cleveland Connects

Posted Apr 6, 8:00 AM

By Chris Quinn, Editor and President, cleveland.com/Advance Ohio

 

Conversations keep bubbling up about creating what Columbus, Indianapolis, Nashville, Louisville and so many others have: size, influence, pride and swagger.

 

So, at cleveland.com, 2019 is the year we climb the mountain anew, with a series we think we will call, We Are Cleveland. We plan to dig back into the cost of our Balkanization, the advantages of being a large city, the steps needed to ensure that all populations have the chance to win elected office and the power we might have if, overnight, we became one of the biggest city economies in the nation.

 

Reporter Pete Krouse will kick off the latest effort next month with a series examining what’s happening in St. Louis, which is heading to a vote on combining dozens of municipalities into a single city. St. Louis is not the first to go down this road, but examining how it is tackling the challenges could help focus the conversation in Northeast Ohio.

 

In the following months, Pete will revisit some of the topics we covered 15 years ago – including the cost savings to taxpayers -- as well as some new ones, such as the pride the region might feel or the influence a much larger city of Cleveland might have when competing in economic development circles.

 

https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/04/imagine-our-influence-and-swagger-if-we-lived-in-a-countywide-city-of-cleveland-the-idea-behind-the-latest-installment-of-cleveland-connects.html

Edited by MuRrAy HiLL

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Cuyahoga County’s high taxes prompt discussion about consolidation

By Peter Krouse, cleveland.com

 

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A study commissioned by the Greater Cleveland Partnership shows the tax burden is significantly higher per capita in Cuyahoga County than in 10 other urban counties competing for some of the same businesses.

 

The new research also suggests that our overall taxes will grow even more burdensome, and the region will become even less competitive, in part because of the redundancies of a Balkanized political landscape.

 

Based on those findings, the GCP, one of the nation’s largest chambers of commerce with more than 11,000 members, is calling for a region-wide discussion of how to make our future more prosperous.

 

More at:  https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/04/cuyahoga-countys-high-taxes-prompt-discussion-about-consolidation.html

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18 hours ago, Oldmanladyluck said:

Cuyahoga County’s high taxes prompt discussion about consolidation

By Peter Krouse, cleveland.com

 

 

 

Yes, we should be having this discussion.  But I am skeptical that the gains to be made from consolidation will be that significant on the tax side.  Shaker Heights, Rocky River, and every other neighborhood will still need police, fire, and infrastructure maintenance crews.  They will still have elected officials on the city council.  There will still be administrative personnel to carry out the day-to-day functions of government.  We may save some money from fewer middle-managers, but we also have a lot of old infrastructure that has not been well-maintained and continues to deteriorate, and that cost is not going to go away.  Arguably, our taxes have been too low since we have failed to maintain high levels of government service across the entire county. 

 

So yes, let's look at the actual numbers and see how this plays out.  But the gains to be made seem to be more likely to come in the city having a unified voice, and more equitable distribution of resources and solving problems (as a prime example, East Cleveland does not seem to have enough resources to save itself, and no one wants to take on East Cleveland's problems, so maybe the only solution is for the entire county to become a unified entity -- then we will fix East Cleveland), and simplifying taxes, than it does in lowering tax rates.

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3 hours ago, Foraker said:

 

Yes, we should be having this discussion.  But I am skeptical that the gains to be made from consolidation will be that significant on the tax side.  Shaker Heights, Rocky River, and every other neighborhood will still need police, fire, and infrastructure maintenance crews.  They will still have elected officials on the city council.  There will still be administrative personnel to carry out the day-to-day functions of government.  We may save some money from fewer middle-managers, but we also have a lot of old infrastructure that has not been well-maintained and continues to deteriorate, and that cost is not going to go away.  Arguably, our taxes have been too low since we have failed to maintain high levels of government service across the entire county. 

 

So yes, let's look at the actual numbers and see how this plays out.  But the gains to be made seem to be more likely to come in the city having a unified voice, and more equitable distribution of resources and solving problems (as a prime example, East Cleveland does not seem to have enough resources to save itself, and no one wants to take on East Cleveland's problems, so maybe the only solution is for the entire county to become a unified entity -- then we will fix East Cleveland), and simplifying taxes, than it does in lowering tax rates.

 

Not sure I agree. I do think there would be a fair amount of savings...but I guess that also depends on what your definition of “significant” is. There is an insane amount of duplication in this region.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Enginerd said:

 

Not sure I agree. I do think there would be a fair amount of savings...but I guess that also depends on what your definition of “significant” is. There is an insane amount of duplication in this region.

 

 

 

We will see, but the reduction of "taxing authorities" wouldn't seem to make much difference, particularly if a lot of the taxes are collected by a single agency (RITA) already.  I don't see a significant reduction in government personnel unless we greatly reduce services.  The Cuyahoga County government does not currently have the resources to govern the entire county without additional staff; local employees will generally become County employees and continue to fight fires, police the streets, fix potholes, collect garbage, inspect homes and businesses, and clean out sewer lines -- they'll just have a new employer.  The work still needs to be done and smaller local governments are generally pretty frugal relative to the larger City of Cleveland.  Many of the current city councilpersons are part-time, so the cost of duplicated elected officials doesn't seem like adding their oversight duties to the County Council's responsibilities is going to make a big dent in administrative expenses.  I hope you're right, but I don't see where the savings are going to come from. 

 

I do think that consolidation could make tax collection simpler and easier for the average person and business, and it should make it easier to file business paperwork, relocate within the county, pay property taxes, etc.  

 

I also worry about the loss of services or decrease in service quality, and the ability to get a councilperson's attention on a neighborhood issue -- more alienation from "the government."  I can also envision a reluctance or inability to raise sufficient revenue, leading to more neighborhoods in the county unhappy with street repairs, snow plowing, trash collection, police presence, etc.

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Many cities aren't in RITA, which I believe covers only income taxes, correct? If so, no school districts, library systems, municipal recreational levies, port authorities, sewer authorities, transit authorities, etc. are in RITA either.


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2 hours ago, Foraker said:

 

We will see, but the reduction of "taxing authorities" wouldn't seem to make much difference, particularly if a lot of the taxes are collected by a single agency (RITA) already.  I don't see a significant reduction in government personnel unless we greatly reduce services.  The Cuyahoga County government does not currently have the resources to govern the entire county without additional staff; local employees will generally become County employees and continue to fight fires, police the streets, fix potholes, collect garbage, inspect homes and businesses, and clean out sewer lines -- they'll just have a new employer.  The work still needs to be done and smaller local governments are generally pretty frugal relative to the larger City of Cleveland.  Many of the current city councilpersons are part-time, so the cost of duplicated elected officials doesn't seem like adding their oversight duties to the County Council's responsibilities is going to make a big dent in administrative expenses.  I hope you're right, but I don't see where the savings are going to come from. 

 

I do think that consolidation could make tax collection simpler and easier for the average person and business, and it should make it easier to file business paperwork, relocate within the county, pay property taxes, etc.  

 

I also worry about the loss of services or decrease in service quality, and the ability to get a councilperson's attention on a neighborhood issue -- more alienation from "the government."  I can also envision a reluctance or inability to raise sufficient revenue, leading to more neighborhoods in the county unhappy with street repairs, snow plowing, trash collection, police presence, etc.

Not that I want to spend five hours on this topic because we talk about it Ad Nauseum at work, but I promise you if us cities merged it would save the tax payer millions in overlapping costs. South Euclid already merged it's EMS with like five other cities and that saved us a ton. If we merged our court with Lyndhurst it would easily save a million dollars due to not needing to have our own judge and entire support staff. It would save on facility costs too. It would make road repairs easier because of the ability to utilize a larger pot of money to target at need streets. Beachwood already repaves roads like every five years even if they don't need it because by law they need to spend that money. Think if that money could be used in Cleveland? These are just some random examples. But one of the biggest costs it would save is having to pay 65 mayors, 65 police chiefs, 65 fire chiefs, and 65 of every director you can think of. I'm not even mentioning council people. 

 

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