Cincinnati Could Borrow $200 Million Because Of COVID-19

Mar 19, 2020

Cincinnati is making financial plans in case the city faces an extreme economic downturn because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

City council will be asked Friday to give city administrators the authority to borrow up to $200 million. 

The money would be used to make sure basic city services are maintained without disruption during the crisis.  That includes police, fire, health, sanitation and water delivery. 

"This is a contingency. Hopefully we won't need it," said Mayor John Cranley during Wednesday's city council meeting.

Cranley said the measure is to make sure the city is prepared for the worst-case scenario.

"I want us to have the authority needed to make sure that we can continue to provide clean water, sanitation, police, fire," Cranley said. "Those essentially vital services that our society cannot function without."

The city administration would be authorized to issue $150 million of emergency health and welfare bonds.  Those would be repaid with lease payments from the city-owned, Cincinnati Southern Railway. 

Another $50 million of water system revenue bonds could be issued and those would be repaid with a 5% water rate increase starting January 1st.