A photo of supporters of People’s Budget Cleveland gathering at Public Square in May.
Supporters of People’s Budget Cleveland gather at Public Square in May. Credit: Nick Castele / Signal Cleveland

Covered by Documenter Kellie Morris (notes)

Late-night democracy: 

In November, Cleveland voters will get to choose whether to change the city’s charter to allow for participatory budgeting. Cleveland City Council approved the ballot initiative, which it was required to do after People’s Budget Cleveland (PB CLE), a group of residents and organizations, gathered enough signatures to put the charter amendment to a vote. The amendment would allow residents to decide how to spend up to 2% of the city’s annual budget. In 2022, that was about $14 million. Some council members and Mayor Justin Bibb oppose the proposal. A free-to-attend debate between council and PB CLE is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 at the Little Theater at the Public Auditorium.

Summer slam: 

Council also passed 61 other pieces of legislation as it wrapped up its second and final summer session. Some items it approved:

  • A contract – at no cost to the city – with Volta Charging, LLC for 18 electric vehicle charging stations.
  • An agreement to be reimbursed by the Ohio Department of Public Health for investigating and reviewing smoking violations in workplaces and other public places. The legislation affords the city $175 per investigation and $50 for each hearing or administrative review.
  • Naming the Boddie Recording Co. – the city’s first Black-owned recording studio – a Cleveland Landmark.

Fall session filling up: 

Council is set to return to its regular schedule of meetings the week of Sept. 18. Here are some items it introduced in this meeting to be reviewed by committees this fall: 

  • Stiffening the punishment for the parent or guardian of a child 17 years old or younger who violates the city’s youth curfew. Parents or guardians for the first time could face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine for violating the curfew law. The current penalty is a maximum $150 fine. 
  • Allowing the city to renew its lease with Cuyahoga County for space at the Justice Center for its police headquarters. Beginning Oct. 2, the monthly rent would be about $192,000 a month. The city used to own the space and sold it for $9.25 million in 2018. Cleveland Documenters reported in 2022 that the city was on track to pay more in rent than it received from the sale. 
  • Extending the lease at 3631 Perkins Ave. for Community Police Commission office space. The annual rent would be $14,487. 

Read more from Documenter Kellie Morris

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Assignment Editor (he/him)
Doug, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, has been a copy editor and reporter. His work includes: The Pace of Passage about how quickly Cleveland City Council passes legislation; a look at the challenges of the city’s Exterior Home Paint program; and University Circle Police Department’s complaint-review process. Doug has also written explainers and guides and launched #CLEDocsAnswers, which answers questions Documenters have about local government.

Cleveland Documenters pays and trains people to cover public meetings where government officials discuss important issues and decide how to spend taxpayer money.