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So Far Small Turnouts For Cincinnati Budget Hearings

Jay Hanselman
Residents attending Cincinnati budget hearing Monday night in West Price Hill.

Cincinnati residents have a final chance Wednesday evening to offer comments on the city's next two-year budget.

Once again attendance was light for a session Monday night at the Dunham Recreation Center in West Price Hill. Only 10 speakers offered comments on the spending plan.  
Continued funding for human services programs was the dominant theme. Supporters are asking City Council to maintain funding for the programs, and some even want it increased.

"Asking the poor, and working poor, to do their fair share in bearing the burden of a $26 million deficit is morally indefensible," said Margaret Fox.

Right now, human services funds are split between programs that reduce homelessness and help people find jobs. There is also funding for violence prevention.

Mike Hicks asked council to continue funding for drug treatment programs like those offered at the Center for Addiction Treatment, or CAT House.

"From my history, I cost cities money when I'm out there using," Hicks said. "So if you put a few extra dollars towards a place to get people like me fixed, maybe not fixed forever, but today I'm living a lot better life but it's all due to the CAT House."

City Manager Harry Black cut funding for human services programs in his budget proposal last month.  But Mayor John Cranley restored those funds in his recommended budget that was sent to City Council.

Even with the city facing a $26 million general fund budget deficit, so far only 21 people have testified about the proposed spending plan.

The final public hearing is set for Wednesday evening at the North Avondale Recreation Center, 617 Clinton Springs, at six o'clock.

City Council is scheduled to take final votes on the budget June 21.  A spending plan must be approved by June 30.