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East Cleveland Budgets Within Recovery Plan, State Commission Says

The official overseeing East Cleveland’s finances on behalf of the state says the city is on track with its plan to recover from fiscal emergency.

East Cleveland expects to spend about $9.8 million from its general fund this year, about 14 less than the year before. Another 2 percent reduction is planned for next year.

Quentin Potter, who leads the state panel overseeing East Cleveland’s finances, told city officials this week they’re headed in the right direction.

“We’ve got a pretty good year-end story here,” Potter said at a meeting of the state’s financial planning and supervision commission.

The city has been in fiscal emergency since 2012, and the recovery plan will take several more years.

General fund spending on safety forces has taken a hit in recent years, and the city is bolstering its staff with federal grants.

Federal dollars help pay for several police officers, 9 full-time firefighters and 16 part-timers, according to the recovery plan. The plan anticipates layoffs in 2019 if the city loses that money.

Next year, East Cleveland hopes to find more revenue through an increased rental occupancy fee. But the city also faces a lawsuit from landlords over it.

And there are liabilities on the horizon, including $741,603 owed to healthcare firm Kaiser Permanente and $934,536 owed in settlements and lawsuits. Documents from the meeting list another $112,000 as being owed to a law firm that represented East Cleveland city council in a legal fight over the merger effort in 2016.  

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