City Looks At Ways To Cut Spending

CLEVELAND (AP) - City officials are looking for ways to increase revenue, including raising parking fees at city lots for Cleveland Browns games, in anticipation of a budget deficit.

City Council will begin discussing the city's 2003 budget next week. The city potentially faces a $48 million deficit. Mayor Jane Campbell is expected to introduce a budget in November.

Campbell wants council to consider whether some special event parking fees, now $10, should be $30 eventually. There are several large city lots downtown and near Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on the Lake Erie shore.

If council approves, the mayor favors increasing parking for Browns games to $15 this year and "potentially as much as $20 next year," Christy Harst, a Campbell spokeswoman, said Friday.

Council President Frank Jackson said the parking rate increase would be "just a drop in the bucket."

Jackson said other options to raise revenue include increasing the income tax, higher fees and staffing cuts. Raising the income tax by 0.25 percent would generate an additional $60 million, he said. The tax is currently 2 percent.

Although Jackson indicated that council does not want to raise taxes or lay off workers, he said, "We will do our job, which is to prepare and pass a balanced budget."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)