DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Twenty-four local governments and six school districts are under state supervision to help them avoid financial ruin, according to a newspaper analysis.
The governments and school districts are in various degrees of fiscal emergencies, as declared by the state under a 1978 law passed to try to keep Cleveland above water when it defaulted on $15.5 million in loans.
Nine Ohio cities with 10,000 or more population are in some sort of financial distress, The Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/12eV2DP) reported in a story Tuesday. The largest is Mansfield, with more than 39,000 residents. Its situation was declared a fiscal emergency in 2010.
"I think Mansfield was in a position where many communities were, and I think we didn't plan properly," said Phil Messer, city special projects coordinator and former police chief. The city's income tax plummeted as many employers cut their staffs, he said, and budget cuts didn't keep pace.
Under fiscal emergency, a state-appointed commission forces the government to come up with a plan to right its finances.
Others in financial distress include the Cleveland suburbs of Garfield Heights and East Cleveland, whose poverty was been highlighted in recent days with the discovery of three bodies in a rundown neighborhood there and a registered sex offender charged with their slayings. The city of Akron was placed under "financial caution" in 2011.
Last week, Detroit became the largest U.S. city in history to declare bankruptcy.
Many of the financially suffering governments in Ohio are those of small villages, including Waynesville, near Dayton, where lax oversight and bad bookkeeping resulted in overspending by $2 million in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, Waynesville's finance director resigned after pornographic movies and gambling information were found on his work laptop.
There have been 40 local governments and 33 school districts that have survived state-declared fiscal emergencies. Ultimately, government defaults and especially bankruptcies are rare. That's especially true in Ohio, which has this oversight function to help governments, officials said.
Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com