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Council Split On Stimulus Priorities, Will Consider Competing Plans Wednesday

cincinnati city hall
Jason Whitman
Cincinnati City Hall

Cincinnati Council will consider two competing plans for spending the remaining $29 million in federal stimulus Wednesday. The Budget and Finance Committee debated the plans Monday and were split on priorities.

One example is childcare. The plan from David Mann and Interim Member Steve Goodin includes funding for minority job support, a neighborhood activation fund, and the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, as well as $1 million for 4C Child Care start-up funds. Meanwhile, an alternative plan from Greg Landsman and Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney includes, among other initiatives, about $5 million for childcare support.

"We are spending economic stimulus funds on stimulating the economy," Goodin said. "That's what it's for. That doesn't mean we're anti-children. That doesn't mean we're anti-childcare."

"The question is, who are we stimulating the economy for?" Landsman responded. "The fact is, there's nothing partisan or political about childcare. That's the challenge, that's why it's getting the short end of the stick here."

Kearney says her plan with Landsman also includes $2.5 million for the Human Services Chamber to offer grants to partner organizations.

"And we're asking that they make food insecurity programs their top priority for those grants," she said.

Council already approved $2 million for the Human Services Chamber as part of $134 million in initial allocations of ARPA two weeks ago. That money was restoring funds the organizations returned to the city at the start of the pandemic.

The Goodin/Mann plan does not include funding for human services, but does have $400,000 in direct allocations to food insecurity organizations.

Both plans include $3 million for Bethany House, the amount needed to close the deal on a new shelter and office space for the nonprofit.

"On the way from South Fairmount to the city today, I passed three homeless gentleman," said CEO Susan Schiller. "Who you won't see are the 173 people in my shelter today: 41 families, 132 kids."

Schiller says Bethany House is also waiting on $1 million approved by council last June; the contract hasn't been finalized by the Department of Community and Economic Development yet.

The Goodin/Mann plan got the majority vote in committee, but Wendell Young and Christopher Smitherman haven't had a chance to weigh in yet.

The Law Department will draft an ordinance for each of the proposals. The Budget and Finance Committee will consider them again during a special meeting at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. Chair David Mann says he expects both ordinances to advance to full council, which begins at 2 p.m. after a public comment period at 1:30 p.m.

Five votes are needed to pass on the nine-member council.

See a partial breakdown of the two plans below. This list is not comprehensive and will be updated.

What The Plans Agree On

  • Public museum support fund: $1 million
  • Women's business program through Main Street Ventures: $1 million
  • UC Health canopy: $1 million
  • Network upgrades/cybersecurity: $430,000
  • Grant Us Hope (teen suicide prevention): $50,000
  • Wesley Chapel summer program: $50,000
  • UCanSpeakForMe (support for families of victims lost to violence): $40,000
  • Kings and Queens anti-violence youth program: $20,000

Programs Included In Both Plans (With Different Funding Amounts)

(First amount listed is Goodin/Mann, second is Landsman/Kearney)

  • Affordable Housing Trust Fund: $6.4 million/$6 million
  • Harbor Program: $500,000/$923,076
  • Artworks summer jobs program: $500,000/$460,000
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau support: $700,000/$1 million
  • Children's Hospital College Hill Campus: $2 million/$1 million
  • Neighborhood Business District Support Grants: $2 million/$1 million
  • Flywheel Business Equity Initiative: $300,000/$150,000
  • Cincinnati Youth Collaborative: $100,000/$300,000

Programs In The Goodin/Mann Plan

  • Rec Center summer hours: $300,000
  • Minority job business support (Urban League): $1.5 million
  • Port Authority Affordable Housing Initiatives: $2.5 million
  • 4C Child Care Start Up Funds: $1 million
  • PIVOT: $500,000
  • Clifton Cultural Arts Center start-up operational costs: $650,000

Programs In The Landsman/Kearney Plan

  • Neighborhood Childcare Recovery Fund: $5,093,964
  • Human Services Chamber: $2.5 million
  • Community Council Funds ($10k to each of 51 councils): $510,000
  • Invest in Neighborhoods: $66,508
  • Outdoor dining in neighborhoods: $1.2 million
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.