Covered by Documenter Dan McLaughlin
What happened: Things got heated when Cleveland’s chief financial officer tried to budget-splain to City Council members why a proposal to evenly split the city’s casino revenue didn’t make sense. Currently 85% of the money goes into the city’s General Fund and council members divide the rest,which last year gave each member about $116,000 to spend in their wards.
And also: CFO Ahmed Abonamah said the change, proposed by Ward 5 Council Member Richard Starr, would take $5.1 million from the general budget and force the city to cut staff. He also said council members weren’t spending the money they already received. Several council members said that claim involved some fancy math that included chunks of money that council had approved but the city had not paid out. The result was shouting and some swearing. Ward 8 Council Member Mike Polensek said the “honeymoon” with Mayor Justin Bibb was over. Council Member Anthony Hairston accused the city of using “scare tactics” in the presentation.
Next up: The casino legislation is still pending, and the debate is likely to resurface during budget hearings next month.