Cincinnati Manager Takes Capital Plan To Council
Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black formally presented his plan to Council Monday to increase the city's debt to pave more city streets and upgrade the city's aging vehicle fleet. It was part of the budget plan released last week.
The city's financial advisor, Davenport and Company, said the “Capital Acceleration Program” makes sense. Representative David Rose said the city can handle the additional debt.
“When we look at your overall indebtedness for example, the amount of debt that you use in a given year to your overall budget is well within the policies that you’d expect of solid AA local governments,” Rose said. “And that’s not going to change.”
Rose said the plan is “flexible” and has what he called “just in time funding.”
The proposal would allow the city to repave 160 lane miles for the next six years. Right now the city has been repaving 100 lane miles a year. There would also be additional funds for preventive road maintenance.
Council did have several questions about the plan.
Council member Chris Seelbach asked if borrowing more money to repave streets is the right priority.
“I’m not sure that by becoming the city that paves the most roads, that is going to add to our growth,” Seelbach said. “If we’re going to take on this substantial new debt, it could be used for other things.”
Council Member Amy Murray said streets should be a priority.
“I think the thing we’re looking at is the index (pavement index),” Murray said. “Because it’s not how many road miles you’re paving, it’s what’s the condition of your roads. And our roads are not good right now, and they are moving into a worse direction.”
Besides road repaving and preventive street maintenance, the “Capital Acceleration Plan” would also be used to upgrade the aging fleet of city vehicles. Those include police cars, fire trucks, dump trucks and sanitation vehicles.