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Cincy Council majority ready to restore some budget cuts

Jay Hanselman

Six Cincinnati Council Members are ready to restore about $4 million to the recently approved city budget after better than anticipated revenue collections for May and June.  

The funds will be used for things like recreation, parks, human services and the health department.  Council Member Laure Quinlivan said there's added money for parks too, which was a popular topic during public hearings in May.

“This $400,000 (for the park district) will ensure that the basics get done,” Quinlivan said.  “The restrooms get cleaned, the grass is mowed, the flower beds are maintained.”

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls said it's important to realize even with the restorations, there are still more than $16 million worth of reductions in the current budget.

“There are still other programs and other departments that were cut,” Qualls said.  “There are other cuts, even within the departments that we are giving restorations too, that will stay in place at least at this point.”

The latest additions to the budget once again mean no city employees will face being laid off from their jobs.  When Council began budget discussions earlier this year, more than 300 workers including police officers and firefighters were slated to get pink slips.
Council Member Chris Seelbach said this sends a strong message about the city.

“Revenues are up every month, our population is stabilizing for the first time in 50 years,” Seelbach said.  “We’re heading in the right direction and the restoration to these incredibly important city services are exactly examples of that.”

In total, the city had an extra ten-million dollars at the end of June.  Some of that money will be set aside to balance next year's budget, which is once again likely to have a large deficit.

The full Council is likely to vote on the plan next week.

Proposed Budget restorations totalling $3,815,000:

  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Minority Business Accelerator ($100,000)
  • Film Commission ($25,000)
  • African American Chamber of Commerce ($50,000)
  • Urban Agriculture Program ($50,000)
  • OEQ— Energy Management Program ($157,000)
  • Neighborhood Support Fund/Neighborhood Business District Support Fund ($430,000)
  • Human Services Funding, includes Closing the Health Gap ($610,000)
  • Health Department ($900,000)  --Includes restoration of positions affecting junked vehicles, rodent control, litter/weed response, insect control, containment of disease outbreaks, infant mortality, medically handicapped children, health clinics, and school based health centers
  • Law - Chronic Nuisance attorney position ($96,000)
  • Parks ($400,000)
  • Public Services Right of Way Maintenance, Greenspace and Lots, AFSCME layoffs ($600,000)    
  • 3CDC—Fountain Square maintenance ($85,000)
  • Recreation — outdoor maintenance, keep Busch Center open ($312,000)