County Budget

Food Insecurity, Autism Discussed at Final HHSA Meeting
By William Tarter, Jr.
Policy Planning Associate & Community Advocacy
December 14, 2016

In what was probably the final meeting for the year of the Cuyahoga County Council Health, Human Services and Aging (HHSA) Committee, the committee heard a presentation from David Merriman, administrator of the Cuyahoga County Job and Family Services, and Bob Math, Department of Health and Human Services contracting office. The five members of the HHSA Committee was also joined by District 11 County Councilwoman Sunny Simon.

The presentation was the renewal of a $1,095,450 annual contract administered by United Way for emergency food distribution to residents, with food purchased from the Cleveland Food Bank. For several years, Cuyahoga County has contracted with various organizations to provide money for individuals who find themselves in emergency need of food. For the past five years, United Way has been the lead partner to the county in helping to administer the funds for this service. The lead provider and distributor of the food is the Cleveland Food Bank. Along with money provided by the county, as well as other funding resources, the Cleveland Food Bank distributes approximately six million pounds of food per year, serving 140,000 households and 320,000 individuals. To maintain the quality of the contract, United Way surveys the hunger centers which receive the distributed food for quality, as well as timeliness of delivery. United Way’s administrative costs are about .5 percent of the contract costs.

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HHSA Committee Approves Office of Homeless Services Request to Receive Federal Funding
By William Tarter, Jr.
Policy Planning Associate & Community Advocacy
August 24, 2016

The relationship between the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services was discussed at the August 17, 2016 Cuyahoga County Council Health, Human Service and Aging committee meeting. Ruth Gillett, manager of the Office of Homeless Services, testified and requested authorization of a consolidated federal grant from HUD of over $971,000 to help cover costs of sheltering hundreds of individuals who face chronic homelessness and severe mental illness and are in need of housing options. The county works with nonprofit and for-profit landlords to identify rooms that can serve as temporary housing for individuals who are in need of shelter.

Council members had a number of questions for the Director regarding homeless services. One question, posed by County Councilwoman Yvonne Conwell, centered on whether or not those who are given shelter under the program necessarily have to live in single occupancy apartments, or if they can be paired with someone else, in an effort to maximize the impact of the program. Ms. Gillett responded by saying that there are guidelines for assignment of rooms based on availability, including if the person/people requesting a room is part of a family. She added that there are a number of projects that are under construction from now through the middle of 2018 that will provide additional beds to address the wait list of individuals in need of housing. She talked about the current admission assignment procedure, which is tracked by a HUD audit, which ensures that those who have the most need for housing (including those that have a mental illness or physical disability) and those who face the largest obstacles to attaining employment, are prioritized to receive shelter. 

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County Executive Armond Budish Presents Proposed Two-Year Cuyahoga County Budget to County Council

By John R. Corlett, President and Executive Director
October 16, 2015

On Tuesday Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish went before Cuyahoga County Council to kick off the public portion of the county budget process. Executive Budish began his presentation by saying that he was sending council a balanced budget that would ensure the “long term stability and success of our region.” He commented that the county’s debt and debt service was the biggest problem he inherited when he took office, and that the county was “on thin ice financially.” According to Budish, the county’s existing debt means their “credit card is maxed out,” and he was forced to find $48 million in the annual operating budget to cover funding for economic development, for maintaining county facilities, and for funding to continue the county’s effort to demolish abandoned structures that would previously been covered through a debt issuance. He said that having to fund these capital expenses and make up the $20 million opening deficit meant he had a “$68 million mountain to climb” when crafting the 2016-2017 budget.

Executive Budish said he asked county agency directors and elected officials to cut the fat, do more with less, look for ways to use county funds to leverage private investments, increase revenues without increasing taxes, and look for opportunities for reorganizations or consolidations that could save money. He said that his budget proposal accomplished this without “substantial harm to services and without any layoffs of county employees.”

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Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish Poised to Introduce His First Two-Year Budget
By John R. Corlett
President and Executive Director

October 5, 2015

At the end of this week, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish will be submitting his first two-year budget to Cuyahoga County Council for review. This will mark Executive Budish’s most significant opportunity to date to put his stamp on what county government does, and does not do. Many observers argue that how public policy makers propose to raise and spend tax revenue is the most accurate reflection of their values and priorities.

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