Street Sweeping Returns to Cleveland

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It might not be as eye-catching and newsworthy as the city throwing tax revenue like Bourbon Street beads at Dan Gilbert and the Cavs, but, in other parts of City Hall, the Public Works Department is bringing back an old friend: the street sweeper.

Scene first caught glimpse of the hearty machines on a Gordon Square side street last week. Today, it's buzzing through Ward 2. The city is planning to post a full schedule of streets in the near future

The street sweeping program, of course, has taken a back seat to pothole repairs in recent years. Citing budget cuts, Public Works Director Michael Cox told WEWS two years ago that seasonal employees (street sweeping, leaf collection) were let go. The ripple effects of a city not providing basic street services are many, including street flooding and storm sewer backup.

Street sweeping was one of many promises embedded in the Issue 32 campaign last year, the ballot initiative that voters approved. You'll recall it as a .5-percent increase to our local income tax, widely pitched as a silver bullet for Cleveland's financial woes. Budgets are up ($4.6 million added to Public Works), and the city has begun adding jobs to its payroll.

One finds it difficult not to take the stance that while, in a vacuum, this is heartening, the overall context of public tax revenue distribution is uneven at best. Anyone interested in that dog's breakfast would do well to scan Cleveland journalist Roldo Bartimole's archives (Ctrl+F "tax").




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