(WOIO) - Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald - accompanied by the mayors of four east side communities - announced that the four communities will begin a process to study the possibility of merging their communities.
Mayors Bruce Akers of Pepper Pike, Kathy Mulcahy of Orange Village, Susan Renda of Moreland Hills, and Charles Smith of Woodmere agreed that - while today's announcement is a first step to begin formal discussions - a potential merger could be a logical outcome for the communities, as they currently share the same school system, recreation department, library and senior citizens programs.
The Mayors also recognize that a merger could result in the elimination of redundant services which would save tax dollars for their citizens. In a statement issued by the four Mayors, they noted that it was "increasingly evident that local governments just can't keep doing business as usual."
County Executive Ed FitzGerald, in line with his initiative to encourage regional collaboration and sharing of government services, praised the decision to begin the discussion as "a bold collaboration by four leaders who are willing to do the smart and right thing for their communities. These Mayors have stepped forward to be the pilot program for other Cuyahoga County communities and will surely serve as a guide to other elected officials who are considering this option."
The process of merging local governments involves approval by voters in the affected communities as outlined by state law. The Mayors pledged a full and open discussion within their communities as the merger option is considered. The Mayors also recommended that the County should take a leadership role in beginning these discussions and providing support for the merger study.
The County Executive and the four mayors also agreed to continue their efforts - through merger discussions and otherwise - to explore any and all opportunities to share services and identify efficiencies that can be achieved through collaboration.