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Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro tells state-of-county crowd about facility for homeless female veterans

August 30, 2018

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro tells state-of-county crowd about facility for homeless female veterans

AKRON, Ohio – Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro announced Thursday during her 2018 state-of-the-county address the creation of a facility for homeless female veterans and their children.

The facility, the result of a partnership with the Family and Community Association, will be called Summit Liberty House. Shapiro noted that a facility already exists for men, there has been nothing for women.

“As the first female county executive I am committed to filling that gap,” she told a crowd of 900 at the John S. Knight Center.

During her speech, she highlighted two recent accomplishments:

The county Geographic Information System’s team was given a special achievement award in GIS work that supports the county’s economic development.The county’s Department of Jobs and Family Services volunteered to be the first large urban department to pilot Ohio’s new eligibility determination system for benefits.

However, state funding cuts are ongoing, she said. This year, the county lost $4 million in sales taxes on Medicaid managed-care organizations, bringing annual state cuts to $11 million.

“That’s why it’s so critical that we continue to be creative and collaborate with all of our county offices and agencies,” she said.

The executive also outlined the benefits of the county’s partnership with the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, to expand the Akron Energy Special Improvement District to many citiescoming on board. The district enables companies to get financing to improve heating cooling and lighting. Through the expansion, the county has improved the sewer system and Barberton has upgraded lighting around Lake Anna. In private projects, One Cascade Plaza downtown and Crystal Clinic in Bath also saw improvements.

The executive also responded to Monday’s recommendations from the Summit County Jail Advisory committee. The report focused on the jail’s finances, staffing and use of force.

She said the jail, which consumes about 20 percent of the county’s general fund budget, has faced some of the biggest cuts of any agency over the years. Shapiro’s senior staff has been working with the jail, and is prepared to immediately begin making improvements, beginning with installation of 234 news cameras around the jail.

Shapiro also gave an update on progress at the 18-acre Firestone Business Park. Announced at least year’s address, the park is located on land owned by the city of Akron and Akron Paint & Varnish. Shapiro said the funding and a contractor have been lined up to build the park’s infrastructure in the coming months.

This year, Summit County has partnered with the cities of Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Green, Fairlawn and Stow to co-operate a consolidated computer-aided dispatch system. Finalized in July, the system, which cost about $3.4 million to buy and install, is owned by the county and will save the participating communities about $7 million in the first five years of operation, she said.

During a Q & A session at the end of the address, Shapiro announced that she will run again for office again in 2020 and received a standing ovation.

This story will be updated.

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