Should the people of Cuyahoga County amend the county charter to make Cuyahoga County a municipal corporation? According to 2019 figures, it would make us the 10th-largest city in the country. It would also give us a leg up on national meetings and conventions moving forward. But, is now
the right time?
Here are differing views:
Quite frankly, while it’s hard to focus on a proposal like this during these times, the recent events only demonstrate the proposal’s wisdom. Just think of public health alone. We have learned that we can only be effective if we act as a unified unit in response to pandemics and health crises. Also, if the county were to declare itself a municipality (which does not mean consolidation of the municipalities within it), it avails itself of federal dollars available to larger jurisdictions that can be used to address economic development and issues of equity in the county.
Majeed G. Makhlouf
Berns, Ockner & Greenberger LLC
I’m Rubber, You’re Glue…
The voters of Cuyahoga County overwhelmingly enacted a new form of charter government in 2010, creating a more traditional form of local government that includes a county executive (mayor) and county legislature (city council) rather than the three-county commissioner structure, which had been in place for over 200 years. Suggestions to now rename the county Cleveland and to declare it a city so that it could magically move up the population ranks with other peer cities seems attractive to some. I’m not sure why — unless we think a fictional dose of makeup is a cure for what truly ails us.
GCP’s work, along with that of others, clearly shows that becoming larger in rankings corrects none of our underlying and inefficient structural problems…it would only make it more confusing. If Cuyahoga County were to be renamed Cleveland, the resulting two Cleveland governments would continue to own and operate separate airports, convention centers and countless other services and agencies. This is exacerbated when you consider other duplicative public agencies in our community, such as library systems.
No substitution for real diligence or a quick fix will work. As a community, Clevelanders and their elected leaders, together with residents and leaders of Cuyahoga County, need to step up and act. We are taxing ourselves much more than other cities with whom we compete. This is because our current governmental structures provide a myriad of duplicative and often mediocre quality services. This, ultimately, encourages our residents to move to adjacent counties with a much more attractive taxing environment. This is the problem we need to solve, not a name change for a city with a rich history.
Greater Cleveland Partnership