The inevitable – and necessary – has finally happened: the City of Maple Heights has been placed in Fiscal Emergency. In a press release today, State Auditor Dave Yost said, “Tough decisions will need to be made.” That wisdom has been needed for the last four years.
In an article from February of last year, I showed that the City was guilty of the same financial irresponsibility committed in East Cleveland. I stated that Maple Heights was in financial trouble “because we have not had the foresight or courage to plan for the future.” Tough decisions needed to be made to right the ship, but the warnings were ignored.
Thankfully, the can will be kicked down the road no longer. Per Ohio statute, a seven member commission will be assembled to oversee the financial decisions of the City. This commission will consist of officials from the state government, city officials and members of the community with business/financial experience. They will give input and approve financial decisions.
This added level of oversight will be a benefit to our City. We have been unable to address the issues and make the tough decision that are necessary. However, with the help and admonition of this commission, Maple Heights must take a hard look at what needs to be done to get us on track for a healthy future.