Cranley: Cincinnati Doesn't Qualify For Federal Coronavirus Dollars

Mar 25, 2020

Some American cities may get money from a federal stimulus bill to pay first responders and health care workers because of the coronavirus pandemic. But Mayor John Cranley said that doesn't include Cincinnati.

Cranley said in a press conference Wednesday right now those federal dollars would be targeted at larger cities.

"At the moment, it appears that it will only go to cities and urban areas of 500,000 people or more, and though our region is 2 million, none of our jurisdictions exceed 500,000," Cranley said. "And I think it would be deeply unfair for us as a region not to get our fair share."

Cranley and city officials are lobbying federal lawmakers to make a change. The mayor is even encouraging residents to contact representatives and senators to lobby on the city's behalf.

The mayor is proposing a funding formula similar to how the federal government distributes Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars.

"It would deliver some dollars not only to Cincinnati and Hamilton County, it would also deliver some dollars to places like Blue Ash and Fairfield and Sharonville and smaller cities like that," Cranley said.

Reports indicate the proposed $2 trillion federal stimulus package, which is still working its way through Congress, could include $150 billion dollars for state and local governments who are seeing revenues plummet as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. These governments are also spending more money for the response.

Meanwhile, even as a statewide stay-at-home order is in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, Cranley is encouraging residents to enjoy the expected warmer temperatures Thursday.

He's suggesting people try to get outside and exercise, but to do so while maintaining six-foot spacing with others.

"And also if you think of it, wear red tomorrow. (Thursday) was supposed to be Opening Day, we're all huge Reds fans, baseball will come back eventually," Cranley said. "But as a reminder of that, why don't we show some red tomorrow?"

It's unclear when the Reds season will start, and unless something changes there will not be an Opening Day parade this year.