(Cuyahoga County) – Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Cleveland City Council today announced legislation to examine the City’s existing tax policy and programs. The legislation is one component of the City of Cleveland’s Equitable Community Development Strategy that aims to cultivate more racial and economically inclusive neighborhoods with affordable housing through strategic, citywide policies.
“Building on the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, this study will continue moving Cleveland’s communities toward greater opportunity for all focused on a comprehensive property tax policy and tax abatement program in order to promote development and housing options for all residents,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson.
The legislation will allow the Departments of Community Development and Economic Development, Office of Sustainability, and the Planning Commission to release a joint Request for Proposals to identify an objective expert consultant to conduct comprehensive research on existing property tax policy in Cleveland and make recommendations on how existing property tax policy can be more equitable and responsive to current market conditions.
Research will contemplate:
1) What will continue to promote development and housing options for neighborhoods across the City;
2) How to protect current, long-term residents from displacement; and
3) What kind of tools should be in a strategic toolkit that is responsive to different neighborhoods and/or leverage various assets like transit and jobs.
The selected consultant will also coordinate a robust community engagement plan as well as a series of community meetings both during the research and after recommendations are made. Research is anticipated to be completed later this year.
The Equitable Community Development Strategy was created in collaboration with community and economic development practitioners and stakeholders including: Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Enterprise Community Partners, Historic Warehouse District Development Corporation, Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, Ohio City, Inc., Tremont West Development Corporation, Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Burten, Bell Carr Development, Inc., Famicos Foundation, Midtown Cleveland, Inc., Cuyahoga County, CHN Housing Partners, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, and Cleveland Development Advisors. Alongside the City, this growing working group is dedicated to developing an Equitable Community Development Strategy that is both community-driven and based on research.
Additional thoughts on the Equitable Community Development Strategy:
Councilman Matt Zone said, "In today’s rapidly-changing demographic, social, environmental and economic environment, the need for equitable economic development programs is particularly urgent. The traditional approaches to economic development by local governments have not benefited all populations – and, in many cases, the policies and programs have particularly neglected or even shortchanged people of color, immigrants, and low income communities.”
Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland said, “This is an opportunity for us to review our policies and how we leverage our strong markets. We want to ensure equity and provide quality affordable housing in every sector of our communities.”
Councilman Kerry McCormack said, “Equity requires inclusion and we can’t have an inclusive process without first having a process that includes all stakeholders – residents, homeowners, developers, schools, researchers, and more must to contribute to the process. Comprehensive research and equitable community engagement will create space for resident voice, while helping us to make sound policy decisions based in the hard facts.”
Department of Community Development Director Tania Menesse said, “Regardless of where you live, we know that diverse and inclusive communities with housing options for all will move Cleveland towards greater opportunity and away from our nation’s legacy of housing segregation.”
(Photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)
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