Abandoned homes, rising costs among Cleveland mayor's concerns for 2014 budget

CLEVELAND - Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson presented his 2014 budget to the Cleveland City Council Tuesday morning.

The mayor said abandoned homes and demolition will be a challenge for the city this year.

Jackson said federal funds to support demolition expired last year and the city is seeking new funding sources.

He said the city spent $58 million on demolition of condemned homes over the last seven years, but has approximately $2 million to spend this year.

The mayor also briefly discussed the impact of cuts by United Airlines at the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. He said the city will lose revenue from boarding and landing fees.

However, the mayor said other airline carriers have expressed "tremendous interest in filling the void" left by United.

United has announced it will cut approximately 60 percent of its daily departures from Cleveland starting in April.

Council members and the mayor also expressed concern about rising healthcare costs. The mayor said the city is moving towards becoming self-insured and hopes wellness program will reduce costs.

Councilman Brian Cummins questioned the mayor about the city's deal with the Cleveland Browns. The city agreed to pay $2 million a year in improvements to the stadium for the next 15 years last year.

Cummins said council needed more notice and information before making a decision on the deal. The mayor said the city made a "good deal" with the Browns.

Council members have also questioned the mayor about potholes, public safety and downtown economic development.

This meeting is happening this morning - newsnet5.com will continue to post updates throughout.

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