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University Heights’ finances looking better after city takes in additional $461,000 in CARES Act money

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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Although it is uncertain what lies ahead, the city’s finances are looking a lot better these days after University Heights recently received an additional $461,000 in federal CARES Act money to help it deal with COVID-related expenses.

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Gov. Mike DeWine, by signing into law House Bill 614 Oct. 1 allowed for the distribution of an additional $650 million to local governments across Ohio, bringing the total of money distributed to Ohio governments to $1.2 billion. The added $461,000 means that University Heights has now received just over $1.1 million in relief money.

“At first, we didn’t know if we’d get any (CARES Act) money,” said Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. But, now that the city has been granted the money, Brennan, in his report at the start of Monday’s (Oct. 5) City Council meeting, told of how the aid has significantly closed the gap on what was once a projected $2-million deficit the city faced.

With the added funding, Brennan also plans to pay city employees money they had to forego by working four-day weeks over the course of 20 weeks, beginning in June. Brennan announced at the council meeting that the furloughs, that were to carry on until Oct. 31, were ending earlier than planned.

Initially, when faced with a possible $2-million shortfall, the administration and council worked to reduce the city’s spending by about $1 million. The reduction was made, among other things, by putting off this year’s road repair program, instituting the furloughs, and, due to the pandemic, not having to spend money on opening the city’s pools or in programming summer activities.

“While tax revenues remain down from this point last year,” Brennan reported to council, “for everything we have been through, we are down just 1 percent from this time

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Exide’s latest bid to avoid additional liability for poisoning L.A. County communities

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For decades, the negligent operators of Exide Technologies, a battery recycling facility, emitted lead, arsenic and other toxic contaminants into people’s homes, communities and the environment.



a close up of clouds in the sky: In 2015, Exide Technologies agreed to close this Vernon recycling plant permanently. But cleanup goes on. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)


© (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
In 2015, Exide Technologies agreed to close this Vernon recycling plant permanently. But cleanup goes on. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it fronted by taxpayers, has been spent on cleanup so far, and the extent of the toxic devastation caused by the company still isn’t fully known. Yet Exide is asking for — and may well receive — permission to walk away from all future liability.

Ever since the contamination was discovered, Exide has worked to evade its full responsibility to Californians. The company failed to comply with environmental regulations, then largely escaped liability for its actions by hiding behind a 2015 non-prosecution agreement it entered into with the federal Department of Justice. It failed to complete a court-ordered study to determine the extent of its pollution. And now it is attempting to use the bankruptcy process to abandon the Vernon facility completely.

California is facing an uphill battle to prevent Exide’s latest move, because bankruptcy laws are firmly stacked in favor of corporate polluters. And the federal DOJ has made clear it intends to sit by and allow Exide to abandon its toxic Vernon facility.

If this happens, the affected communities around the plant will have been harmed once by Exide, then again by federal bankruptcy laws

If Exide is allowed to abandon the site, this highly contaminated property will be left with no owner capable of securing the site and continuing to clean it up. If not properly managed, the shuttered facility could release lead dust into surrounding neighborhoods. Effectively, the site