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As Public Hearings Conclude, Council Begins Budget Work

city hall
Wikimedia Commons
Cincinnati City Hall.

Cincinnati Council Members will now debate how they want to alter budget proposals submitted by Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney and Mayor John Cranley.

Council's Budget and Finance Committee wrapped up a series of public hearings on the spending plan Wednesday evening in College Hill.

Nearly 70 people again offered testimony on several spending items they would like restored to the budget.

Phillip Strong works at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and spoke in favor of funding for Cincinnati Works.

"I hire primarily entry-level jobs and Cincinnati Works provides me with pre-screened, well-prepared applicants," Strong said.

The program helps people in poverty find jobs.

Michael Maloney says council has tough decisions to make, but it needs to fund human services organizations.

"I think a city with the poverty rate at the level of Cincinnati needs to consider human services a high priority than in the past," Maloney said.

The city allocates money for human services focused on preventing homelessness, helping people find jobs and violence prevention.

Others asked that funding be restored for the Center for Closing the Health Gap, neighborhoods and the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority.

Several speakers also asked that funding be restored to the Center for Addiction Treatment (CAT) House. The organization used to receive city funding, but it is not included in this year's proposed budget.

Duhaney and Cranley worked to close a $32 million general deficit without layoffs or making cuts to basic city services.

Council will now have to decide what, if anything, it will restore to the spending plan.

Some items mentioned in the three public hearings include:

The Center For Closing the Health Gap

  • Duhaney: $562,500
  • Cranley: $0
  • Supporters: $750,000 (amount in the current city budget)

Human Services Funding

  • Duhaney: $2,790,172
  • Cranley: $3,277,500
  • Supporters: $4,060,000 (or 1 percent of the city's general fund budget)

Neighbordhood Community Councils

  • Duhaney and Cranley: $265,200
  • Supporters: $353,600

Neighbordhood Business Districts 

  • Duhaney and Cranley: $129,600
  • Supporters: $172,800

Cincinnati Works Hand Up Initiative

  • Duhaney: $187,500
  • Cranley: $250,000
  • Supporters: $250,000

Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority

  • Duhaney: $500,000
  • Cranley: $700,000
  • Supporters: $700,000 

CDC Association of Greaer Cincinnati 

  • Duhaney: $112,500
  • Cranley: $143,700
  • Supporters: $225,000

City council members will also have to decide if they're okay raising parking meter rates, increasing the fee for building permits, and allowing a company to "boot" cars with three or more unpaid parking tickets. The boot could be removed with a cell phone after the tickets are paid. The higher rates and fees would generate revenue to balance the budget.
Council also has to decide whether to accept Cranley's $5.2 million in addition to the capital budget. That would pay for projects in Pleasant Ridge and East Price Hill. He's also proposed $900,000 for parks and recreation centers for deferred maintenance items. Another $1 million would go to Inwood Park and Queen City and Boudinot Park for improvements.

To pay for his additions to the capital budget, Cranley proposed taking $3.75 million from other projects in the capital budget.

Council must approve a budget June 30 for the new fiscal year which starts July 1.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.