What happened: Council members expressed their concerns with Community Development Corporations (CDCs) in a discussion with reps from Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP). Issues included accountability for CDC board members, the services CDCs provide, and how the city should fund the nonprofits. CDCs receive much of their funding through federal grants issued to Cleveland. Those grants carry strict eligibility restrictions, which council members criticized in February budget hearings. CNP President and CEO Tania Menesse said the federal funds provide operational support but not capital for actual projects. CDCs are often left fundraising, Menesse said.
Not just ‘bricks and sticks’: Ward 10 Council Member Anthony Hairston pushed back on the idea of CDCs needing to limit their work to “bricks and sticks,” or work centered on construction. There is a place for social services, too, he said, adding that CDCs often fill gaps in city functions. “If the CDC in my neighborhood didn’t have a food program, some people wouldn’t eat,” Hairston said.
Flat tax getting flak: Council also received a presentation about a potential response to Ohio House Bill 1 (HB 1). The proposed state law would create a flat income tax. CNP’s Ed Stockhausen discussed the draft of a different bill intended to offset the effects of HB 1 by providing property-tax relief for low-income homeowners. Ward 7 Council Member Stephanie Howse, a former state legislator, asked for a study on HB 1’s projected financial impact on Cleveland.
Read the live-tweet thread from Documenter Rosie Palfy:
Curious about council’s caucus meetings? Signal Cleveland’s Paul Rochford has the scoop, including why council does not broadcast them. Wish there was a video? Documenter Rosie Palfy livestreamed this meeting on Twitter.