Council committee hears about sharing services

Oct 22, 2012

Cincinnati and Hamilton County are working together on a number of issues. 

City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. told a Council committee Monday that includes the Banks project, funding for the Port Authority and operating the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Dohoney said he's had discussions with Hamilton County's administrator about other shared services, but not to the point of coming up with a strategic plan.

“If the policy making bodies were to decide that they wanted to see a 5-year plan for strategic services, if we got that direction, we’d do it,” Dohoney said.

Dohoney was asked what’s the biggest obstacle to additional cooperation.

“All parties have to come to the table with a mutual appreciation for the strengths that everybody brings and in my view that does not always happen,” Dohoney said.  “And I’m not really talking about Hamilton County, so let me be clear about that.”

Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld said he'd like a list from the manager of the services the city can perform better and another list of functions Hamilton County may be able to do better.

“People do want this, I think they rightfully expect it,” Sittenfeld said.  “Let us know how we can be helpful and for you and your team to have a can do attitude about shared services, and not generate reasons why we can’t but just make it happen because that’s what people want.”

The shared services debate was in the news last month when County Commission President Greg Hartmann complained Mayor Mark Mallory walked away from an effort to study what could be consolidated.

The mayor said he thought the process was becoming too political and there were many areas where the two governments are already cooperating. 

The discussion comes as both the city and county are again facing huge budget deficits next year.