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Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has a new plan make county services available to cities.

The Western Reserve Plan was announced Wednesday afternoon during the State of The County Address at Cleveland’s City Club.

The Western Reserve Plan will focus on these 12 key areas:

  1. Implementing a practical strategy for creating a functioning, county-wide metropolitan government.
  2. Establishing Greater Cleveland as a center of entrepreneurship and job growth.
  3. Designing a place-based development strategy which recognizes the centrality of downtown Cleveland to the region as a whole.
  4. Aligning and coordinating both public and private resources around our most pressing human service needs.
  5. Identifying education, from early childhood forward, as the central factor in individual and community success.
  6. Embracing a health and wellness culture which mirrors the excellence of our major medical institutions.
  7. Incorporating economic inclusion as a guiding principle in our economic development strategy.
  8. Branding our metropolitan area as an international city which harnesses the energy of our younger generations.
  9. Adopting a collaborative approach to the foreclosure crisis- from prevention to restoration.
  10. Honoring the service of our veterans by giving them priority in hiring, training and education.
  11. Protecting our county by leading a county-wide public safety initiative.
  12. Creating a culture within county government which implements nationally recognized good government practices and innovations.

Ed FitzGerald explains the county-wide metropolitan government below:

Regional strategies/services/metro government

It’s time to be brutally honest about the discussion which has been taking place regarding the possibility that we will regionalize our services, our governments, or both.  First, the discussion has been going on for almost 100 years.  And that says it all. 

Although there have been examples of progress, and for the first time the county has assisted in those discussions, we are not on a trajectory to any serious form of shared services, strategies, or consolidated government.  We just aren’t, and it’s time to stop pretending that we are.  When this concept was first seriously proposed in the first half of the twentieth century, some of its proponents knew that time was of the essence.  At that time, about 80% of the population of the county was contained in the City of Cleveland, and they feared that as population inevitably migrated outwards, it would make it more and more difficult to create a regional approach to government.  They were right, and that’s exactly what happened.

So for 100 years, we have had an interesting philosophical discussion which gets us almost nowhere we haven’t already been.  The comparison of us to what other metropolitan areas have done are, frankly, usually ill-informed.  There is no place in the country which has our level of fragmentation, with home rule powers for cities, which has just spontaneously combined in any meaningful way.  Cities and counties, such as Indianapolis, that have merged usually consist of a central city surrounded by undeveloped and unincorporated areas.

But there is a way to get there.  And we can do it without forcing anything on any city.

To read more of the speech, click on the link below:

Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News