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Cincinnati Budget Plan Hits A Snag

Cincinnati Council must pass both an operating budget and a capital budget by July 1st to comply with state law.  

It appears five members are ready to vote in favor of the operating plan, but right now, without changes, five members will likely vote against the capital budget.  

If there is still a deadlock by June 30th, the city government could face a shut down. Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld said that is unlikely.

“I have a very high level of confidence that we’re going to pass a complete budget before the deadline,” Sittenfeld said.  “I think it will happen by working together and it will happen with recognition that the administration, in collaboration with the mayor, in collaboration with a majority of council, will come together to find something that doesn’t thrill anyone, but makes everyone happy enough.  I think that’s going to happen.”

Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Charlie Winburn said he is willing to negotiate a compromise.  But Council Member Wendell Young said that may not be enough.

“I have no reason to believe that whatever you come up with is going to be respected by the mayor,” Young said.  “So it leaves me in a quandary about who we should talk too.  I agree there should be some negotiations, but obviously the mayor does not support you as the budget chair in terms of what you’re able to work out.”

The five council Democrats want additional projects added to the capital budget including $400,000 for the proposed Clifton Market, $24,000 for bus shelters along Reading Road in Bond Hill, and $150,000 for additional bike lanes and maintenance of existing bike lanes.  Mayor John Cranley opposes those items and has promised to veto them.  

“But the idea that we’re going to allow the budget to be hijacked by pet projects is a bad practice that I’m ending,” Cranley said.  “All these items will get up or down votes and we’ll see where the chips fall.”

The full Council is scheduled to vote on the budget Wednesday.  

Earlier Monday Mayor John Cranley told reporters five council members are ready to approve a series of changes to the spending plan that he supports.

Those in favor include: Winburn, Mann, Smitherman, Flynn and Murray.  

Cranley said the five council Democrats will get up or down votes on the spending items they proposed last week.

"The five council members that signed the omnibus motion can still vote for all elements of their motion by voting yes for all ordinances referred to the budget committee," said Cranley.

However, Cranley said he does intend to veto some of those ordinances because "they would cause a structural imbalance or are wasteful."

Cranley said he will veto an additional $275,000 for the city's health department, $166,000 for the neighborhood support program and a $500,000 more for human services agencies.