Mayor Cranley Expected To Veto Latest Budget Update Ordinance

Oct 10, 2018

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is expected to veto an ordinance council approved Wednesday making about $5.4 million in changes to the current budget.  

The plan would allow the police department to start its next recruit class in January instead of April. Plus, it increases funding for the Center for Closing the Health Gap, a new eviction prevention program and money for economic development programs.

The mayor said he supports some of the items in the ordinance, but not all of them. Cranley said they should be considered separately and debated on their merits.

Cranley also said council should be cutting spending after a judge temporarily delayed a billboard tax that was approved in June. That tax was expected to bring in more than $700,000 in revenue.

"This council is about to not just not cut $700,000 in spending, but to add new spending over and above what was passed in June," Cranley said. "That is incredibly reckless."

Council member P.G. Sittenfeld said the plan was struck after negotiations, which is part of the governing process.

"When you tell me you can simultaneously advance our police recruit class, tackle the horrible scourge of heroin in our community, invest in job creating entities, make sure we are reducing health disparities and increase our reserves, that sounds like pretty good governing to me," Sittenfeld said.

It will take six votes to override the mayor's expected veto, and only five members voted Wednesday to approve the ordinance.

There was some debate about whether the plan "raids" the city's reserve accounts. The ordinance doesn't take money from those accounts, but it would reduce the amount of new money slated to go into them.

Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney had proposed planning $2.6 million from last year's carryover budget into the reserves, and council had reduced that to $1.9 million.

The city is trying to keep 16 percent of the city's operating budget in reserves to satisfy the bond rating agencies. The goal is to reach that in a few years. Duhaney's plan would have hit 10.84 percent this year and council's action reduces it to 10.66 percent.

Spending in the plan included:

  • $300,000 for items already included in this year's budget, but without a funding source
  • $47,000 to pay for a state audit finding concerning MSD
  • $425,000 ShotSpotter in Price Hill
  • $18,000 property tax repayment error
  • $2,000,000 police radio upgrade
  • $75,000 housing court startup cost
  • $60,000 heroin call center
  • $636,000 police recruit class earlier start date (January instead of April 2019)
  • $709,000 items funded with proposed billboard tax delayed by litigation
  • $500,000 Bethany House to buy land for new facility
  • $250,000 pilot eviction prevention program
  • $15,000 ArtsWorks employment project
  • $110,000 Wage Compression funding
  • $73,000 additional for CincyTech (economic development program)
  • $150,000 additional funding for the Center for Closing the Health Gap