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Cincinnati Fire, Police Depts Millions Over Budget Amid Pandemic

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati's fire and police departments are millions of dollars over budget, largely because of pandemic challenges. The city manager's office presented a budget monitoring report to a City Council committee Monday.

The fire and police departments have had to cover a lot more overtime recently, partly because of the increase in COVID-19 sick leave.

Turnover is another costly problem - attrition at the fire department was nearly 200% higher than expected by the end of November.

The report projects CFD will need $8 million more than estimated by the end of the fiscal year, and CPD will need another $4.9 million.

"We may need an additional appropriation," said Assistant City Manager and Budget Director Chris Bigham. "We'll talk about sources and process just as we get closer. But that's a very important part because we have to be balanced in the year."

Income tax revenue is about $16 million higher than projected. Parking meter and parking fine revenues are each about a million dollars below estimates.

Bigham says the overall budget is short about $4 million.

"We do have funds to cover it as of now," Bigham said. "Our staff works with all the departments to make sure that there's proper savings that we're trying to manage this as much as possible."

The report covers expenses through the end of November 2020. City officials will consider an adjustment ordinance in May to balance the budget before the end of the fiscal year.

You can read the full report below. 

Budget Monitoring Report_Ending Nov. 30 2020 by WVXU News on Scribd

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.