Ohio has a concentration of communities that have struggled to regain the population and economic activity they lost during the Great Recession. A 2016 study by the Greater Ohio Policy Center showed that Ohio’s legacy cities experienced population loss, lower labor force participation, falling housing values and rising poverty in the five years after the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009.

These struggles do not stop at a city’s borders. On average the metropolitan areas that surround Ohio’s medium and small legacy cities have lost people and jobs. This includes the suburban and rural communities that frequently rely on those cities as economic and service delivery hubs.

Ohio needs a program that provides fiscally and economically challenged communities with tools to address the root causes of their distress before they are subject to oversight through the State’s fiscal caution-watch-emergency process.

The Network, in cooperation with the Greater Ohio Policy Center, Arnold Ventures and the Just Transition Fund, created and led the Ohio State Resource Network, bringing the Network’s comprehensive, tailored approach and proven tools to Ohio county and local governments experiencing one or more of the following challenges:

  • Population decline of 2 percent or more from 2010 through 2017 as measured by the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey;
  • A poverty rate of 20 percent or more as measured by the American Community Survey; or
  • An annual average unemployment rate of 6.5 percent or more as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

What kind of technical assistance did the Network offer?

Most Network funding supported multi-year financial planning engagements with integrated community and economic development strategies. Recognizing that strategic financial planning is important to a community’s ability to invest in itself, the Network integrated community and economic development approaches into technical assistance engagements designed to tackle the complex root causes of financial decline.

About half of the funding was reserved to help Ohio’s coal-impacted communities build strong, resilient and diversified new economies. Coal-impacted communities are those in one of the 32 counties covered by the Appalachian Regional Commission. That list is available here.

The other half was available to all Ohio communities that meet the criteria above. Limited funding was also available exclusively for coal impacted communities that could be used for technical assistance without a financial planning component.

What is a Multi-Year Financial Plan?
Multi-year financial planning is a powerful tool that helps local government leaders chart a path to fiscal sustainability and gives their community a practical strategy to make investments that will attract and retain residents and businesses, and fulfill other community priorities.

The Plan is built on comprehensive and dynamic financial projections, encompassing tax structure, workforce costs, staffing levels, debt structure, and legacy costs. This provides a clearer picture of local government’s financial challenges and guides local leaders in developing a menu of options to address short-term challenges, achieve long-term structural balance and meet community priorities.

Learn more about multi-year financial planning – and see examples of plans we’ve created for other cities – on the Network’s website.

OSRN Request for Assistance

OSRN Frequently Asked Questions

Webinar and Q&A

On August 20, 2019, the OSRN hosted an information session regarding multi-year financial planning. During the session, OSRN representatives discussed what multi-year financial planning is and how it can help local governments and their partners meet community-driven quality of life and economic competitiveness priorities. The session ended with a Q&A about the program and application.

A recording of the webinar is available.




Photo Credit: “Downtown Cleveland Ohio (21)” by Chris Gent is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0