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Council Approves New Messer Building; Budget Release Delayed

The full Cincinnati Council will likely vote Wednesday on a property sale and development agreement for Messer Construction to move its corporate headquarters to the West End.  

Right now it has an office on Tennessee Ave. in Bond Hill.  The new site is a former bread company building on Cutter Street.  

Council Member Chris Seelbach likes the plan, but he isn't sure the city and Messer have done enough outreach to nearby residents.

"If I were a resident, I would see this as a positive," Seelbach said. "I mean, right now, you know, it's just a metal fence with basically an abandoned parking lot.  And the developer has situated the building so that they are furthest away from these houses and it's going to be a nicer parking garage with a 15-foot green buffer zone."

Messer will build a two-story building that is expected to cost about $8 million.  

The company will keep 116 existing jobs in the city and eventually add 40 new positions.  

The project would begin in August and be completed in a year.

Meanwhile, City Manager Harry Black is delaying the release of his 2017 budget proposal.  

City Budget Director Chris Bigham made the announcement during council's Budget and Finance Committee meeting Monday.

"We had to delay it about a week," Bigham said. "When working with a gap and a few late changes we needed that extra time."

The budget will now be released May 19.  

In March, the city's deficit was projected at $6.7 million.  That is down from nearly $14 million reported in January.  

But that number could go higher with continuing labor contract negotiations.  City firefighters are getting three percent pay raises, and it's expected police officers will get a similar increase.  

City council must approve a spending plan by July 1.