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Cincinnati Council Considers Additions To Current Budget

city hall
Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati Council could vote Wednesday on a proposal that spends some of the $1.7 million leftover from last year's budget.  

The plan also includes spending proceeds from the planned sale of the Whex Garage at 212 W. 4th Street, and taking $73,000 the acting city manager had proposed be added to the city's reserve accounts.  That would leave about $2.1 million going to those reserves.

The proposal makes some of the following allocations:

  • $700,000    Center for Closing the Health Gap ($150,000 increase)
  • $350,000    Pilot program for eviction prevention
  • $400,000    Bethany House (land purchase for new facility)
  • $250,000    CincyTech (economic development program)
  • $177,010    Cintrifuse (economic development program)
  • $40,980    Hillman Accelerator (economic development program)
  • $75,000    Housing court startup costs
  • $60,000    Heroin Hotline call center
  • $120,000    Quick response teams
  • $2,000,000 Radio communication system upgrades
  • $425,000    ShotSpotter system for Price Hill
  • $15,000    ArtWorks program
  • $207,797    Wage compression adjustments for some city staff starting January 1, 2019.

Five council members voted in favor of the spending proposals.  
That could be a problem since it takes six votes to override a mayoral veto, and that's a possibility since Mayor John Cranley has proposed eliminating all funding for the Center for Closing the Health Gap.

Members of Council's Budget and Finance Committee spent nearly two hours Monday debating changes and amendments to the proposals.

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld noted the city has finite resources to address a number of pressing needs.

"No one is here to be convinced of whether there is value to these things or not," Sittenfeld said. "We're trying to make all the resources work. It's a strange season for a lot of things that ail our city."

Council member Chris Seelbach voted against the spending. He wants assurance the city will fully fund the Liberty Street road diet proposal, which would make the route much more friendly for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Everyone is getting a lot of the things that they've fought for and that they believe in, and some of these are things are things that I also believe in," Seelbach said. "But that's something that I've worked on and fought for six years. So if I don't have the assurance that we have six votes on the Liberty Street project, which I was told we do not, then I'm a no on all of it."

City council is also using this plan to close a $709,000 hole in the budget passed in June after a Hamilton County judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing the city from imposing a new billboard tax.

The Budget and Finance committee will hold a special meeting Wednesday at 5 p.m. to consider the plan again, and the full council will likely vote later that evening.