CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson faced Cleveland Council members to explain his proposed budget. It's an annual ritual, a rare appearance where council members can grill Mayor Jackson on any subject.
It launches two-weeks of hearings where council will vet the budget. The mayor is proposing a $538.4 million budget. Jackson said his plan may be dramatically impacted by Gov. John Kasich's proposed changes in state taxes and regulations.
Jackson wants to hire 25 veteran police officers. They would focus on violent crime and guns. He would hire 40 EMS workers and buy three new ambulances to offset the effect of closing Huron Road Hospital.
The city has lost millions because of state cuts and property tax, estate tax and local government funding.
"In those things we are able to control we do a pretty good job," said the Mayor. "Those other things we don't control gives us problems."
In early questioning council members praised the mayor for the speedy reopening of the West Side Market and his solid management of the city. Through the first group of council members, there were no questions about the controversial police chase and shooting.
Council members expressed concern about the city's homicide rate and demolition policies.
The mayor drew laughter by responding to a question asking if he is on Twitter. Jackson says he does not use Twitter, "I can't believe the things people do there."
Jackson is up for re-election this year. From the tone of questions, it obvious he has very strong support of council.