East Cleveland in State of ‘Fiscal Caution’

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EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio— The financial wreckage of East Cleveland's past has caught up with it... again.

Thursday, Auditor of State David Yost declared the city of East Cleveland in a state of "fiscal caution."

A state audit of the city's books from the year 2006 to 2008 shows the city is behind 5.8 million dollars, according to Yost.

"Fiscal caution is the first of three steps of increasing seriousness for local governments that get into fiscal distress," Yost said at a news conference Thursday at East Cleveland City Hall, along with Mayor Gary Norton, Jr., and Council President Dr. Joy Jordan.

"These are audits of a previous mayor a previous council a previous time," Norton said.

Jordan said part of East Cleveland's money problems could be traced back to the population decline.

"We are now under, or approximately 17,000 in population in the city of East Cleveland," Jordan said.

That means fewer taxpayers, coupled with the recent loss of Huron Hospital, which brought in one million dollars a year to the city.

Now the city council is proposing a half-percent increase in taxes for residents and a hike in trash fees.

"We are going to our residents for an increase in revenue so that we can provide the services that we need to here in the city of East Cleveland," Jordan said.

Jordan said police officers and firefighters could also be cut.

Residents Fox 8 News spoke with are not happy about this.

"It's hard now. The water bill is high in East Cleveland, taxes are high in East Cleveland, everything's high in East Cleveland. It's hard," resident Chris Townsend said.

East Cleveland was declared in a state of fiscal emergency from 1988 to 2006.

City officials have 60 days to devise a plan to get the budget back on track.

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