August 21, 2002 at 5:16 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 4:13 AM
CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cuyahoga County agency that helps needy veterans has sued for $5 million in additional funding.
The Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission filed the legal action Tuesday with the Ohio Supreme Court seeking more funding from county government.
The agency, which recently was the subject of a critical audit, asked county commissioners for $11.1 million but received only $6.5 million this year.
"We tried to work with them," said County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora. "We want to make sure the money goes to veterans' needs and programs."
The president of the five-member board overseeing the veterans commission said the agency has improved its operations.
"I would not take that $4 million and squander it," said Daniel Weist, president of the veterans board.
Without more money, the agency will have to lay off some of its 30 staff members, Weist said. He also said the agency was entitled to the money under state law.
Ohio's veterans agencies are entitled to a set percentage of property tax money. Cuyahoga County's agency, which has typically not asked for its full share, could have received more than $14 million this year.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)