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Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish hypes post-COVID plan but fails to address finances in key address

Published: May. 20, 2021 at 9:04 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In his State of the County address, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said the county is ready to emerge from the COVID-19 with strength and vitality.

“This has been an indescribably awful year for so many, a year of very real and personal loss,” Budish said. “Many of us have lost family, friends, and neighbors. We’ve lost businesses and jobs. Some in our community have lost their homes. This is really horrible.”

In his sixth such address, the longtime politician painted a portrait of optimism.

“Given how much negative news is promoted, you might be surprised to hear that Cuyahoga County is emerging from this pandemic with strength and vitality,” he said early in his speech. “And because of prior decisions made over the years, we entered the pandemic with a secure base, a base on which we continued to build during the past year. We’re now actually positioned to come out of this crisis stronger than ever.”

At no point during his remarks did Budish address county finances, or the stability of the budget after a year in which the county certainly lost revenue from its funding sources; such as bed taxes.

Budish was asked about such topics during a post-speech Q&A led by the City Club of Cleveland CEO.

One question from an online viewer centered around the city’s debt capacity. The unnamed viewer suggested there was no more room for the county to sink into further debt.

“Our debt capacity is not tapped out. Whoever asked that doesn’t know anything about where we are,” Budish said. “In fact we have over a billion dollars of additional debt capacity.”

During his remarks, Budish highlighted the county’s lakefront projects, renewed focus on equality for all citizens and the need for new manufacturing busisnesses to create jobs.

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