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The shared services/merger study for four east side Cuyahoga County communities may focus more on sharing services than a merger of the communities. Residents from Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere shared their thoughts with project consultants at four public meetings in February.

Cuyahoga County named the nonprofit Center for Governmental Research of Rochester as the lead consultant for the merger/shared services study for Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. The study will be supported by a $100,000 state LGIF grant and a $34,130 NOACA grant. A Plain Dealer editorial said it "could turn out to be among the most important public dollars [the county] spends this year."

Election recap

This month's election included the following issues (PDF):

In Summit County, Green residents voted to ban casino gambling and horse racing.

Visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for complete results.

Mayor Mulcahy said that voters in Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere probably won't see a ballot issue this November on a potential merger due to the complexity of the subject and the need for study.

On Thursday, the mayors of Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere discussed the potential merger of their communities (along with the Village of Moreland Hills) at a Corporate Club forum. They spoke about their motivations and the potential cost savings.

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun and Cleveland Jewish News reported on the event. Meanwhile, Jill Miller Zimon interviewed Gary Norton, the mayor of East Cleveland and Beryl Rothschild, the former mayor of University Heights.

NOACA's governing board approved a $34,100 grant to Cuyahoga County to support a study of the potential merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission will conduct the study.

Mayor Spremulli of Bentleyville has concerns about the potential merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere. A Chagrin Solon Sun editorial says that the "beauty of regionalism is that it can be adapted to fit a community's needs."

Mayors and residents discussed the proposed merger of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere on the latest Civic Commons radio show.

The Plain Dealer took a closer look at the idea of merging Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere, and the Chagrin Valley Times and Cleveland Jewish News got reactions from municipal officials. The mayors of the four communities discussed the concept on Monday's Sound of Ideas program, and a Plain Dealer editorial said that the "communities are establishing a valuable template others can -- and should -- follow."

Update: the Chagrin Solon Sun gathered additional reactions.

Update 2: a Chagrin Solon Sun editorial supports the process.

County Executive FitzGerald and the mayors of Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike, and Woodmere announced that they will begin to study the possibility of merging their communities. The mayors are looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs. If the communities decide to proceed with the merger, voter approval would be required to establish a study commission and later for a merger plan.

Homebuilder Pulte Homes began construction of the first five townhouses at the Townes of Pepper Pike at Sterling Lakes. This phase includes a total of 16 units.

Pulte Homes plans to start building townhouses at the Pointe at Sterling Lakes in Pepper Pike. The national homebuilder will begin work on its first five units this month.

The City of Pepper Pike and Forest City last week agreed to revisions of the development plan for the Pointe at Sterling Lakes. It now calls for 102 units in the residential development, down from the 132 units in an earlier proposal.

Citing a need to focus on budget issues, the Village of Pepper Pike withdrew from further study of regional cooperation with neighboring Moreland Hills and Orange. Mayor Renda of Moreland Hills and Mayor Mulcahy of Orange said that the decision puts collaboration plans on hold.

Update: the communities shelved the regionalism study.

A study that Baldwin-Wallace College prepared for Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, and Pepper Pike says that the communities could save money by by consolidating their police, dispatch services, and service departments. The mayors of Moreland Hills, Orange, and Pepper Pike are willing to consider municipal mergers, and hope to obtain an EfficientGovNow grant to study the possibility. A Chagrin Solon Sun editorial said that the idea is worth considering.

Local governments in the 16-county Northeast Ohio region submitted 50 projects in the second round of the EfficientGovNow grant program. Sixteen of the applications are from Cuyahoga County communities, including a proposal from Moreland Hills, Orange Village, and Pepper Pike that would fund implementation of a forthcoming municipal collaboration study.

Update: organizers encourage public input on the project ideas.

Pepper Pike City Council did not accept an amended development plan for the Pointe at Sterling Lakes residential development. Developer Forest City wanted to decrease the size and increase the number of townhouse units in the gated subdivision.

Baldwin-Wallace College is preparing a study on municipal collaboration for leaders in Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, and Pepper Pike. It should be completed by November.

Some Pepper Pike residents are opposed to a plan to rezone four properties at Chagrin Boulevard and Lewis Drive from residential to commercial. Officials say that the properties are not suitable for residential development. Owner Joe Lo Galbo wants to build offices on the site.

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