Cincinnati City Council

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County leaders have strong words about how Cincinnati runs the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).  Their remarks came after an Enquirer report alleging mismanagement and possible overspending. 

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

  Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has reached the halfway point of his four-year term; and he says he most certainly plans to run for a second term in 2015.

The first two years have been a roller coaster ride for the 41-year-old mayor – a series of setbacks and victories, sometimes creating allies and often creating opponents with what his critics see as  bull-headed, my-way-or-the-highway approach to governing.

Sarah Ramsey

Mayor John Cranley, along with seven of nine Cincinnati council members, have told  Hamilton County commissioners they will talk about the future of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), but not under the assumption the county will take over control.

In a letter to commissioners Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune Wednesday, Cranley and the council members  rejected the argument that the two commissioners made in a letter to Cranley last month – that MSD, plagued with continuing rate increases and allegations of mismanagement – should hand over MSD operations to the county.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The director of Cincinnati's Parks says it needs $4 million annually to take care of deferred maintenance like trail work and repairs. Willie Carden says the city could reach $70 million  in deferred maintenance by 2025.

Michael Keating / WVXU

Cincinnati’s Issue 22, the charter amendment that would institute a one mill park levy, has been the object of intense political warfare and heated rhetoric this fall.

The two city charter amendments that follow it on Tuesday’s ballot in Cincinnati – Issue 23 and Issue 24 - have produced nothing but silence.

WVXU

The Cincinnati Fire Department could learn this week if it will receive a federal grant to pay for a 40-member recruit class that starts in February. 

The city has been successful in getting these Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER) grants.  SAFER grants come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but fire chief Richard Braun says it gets harder each time.

City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati voters will consider two Charter amendments this fall.  

Council approved two issues Wednesday: moving the city's mayoral primary from September to May, and another moving the beginning of mayoral and council terms from December to January.  It also includes cleaning up some other Charter language.

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Council member Chris Seelbach says he won’t vote to override Mayor John Cranley’s veto of a proposed charter amendment that would allow city council to meet behind closed doors to discuss some issues.

Cincinnati residents will be asked to approve two Charter amendments this fall, and they could see two more before the deadline to make the ballot next week.  

City Council approved measures Monday for a permanent one mill property tax levy for city parks, and a second to let council hold executive sessions, or closed public meetings on six specific issues.  

Cincinnati voters may see a series of city charter amendments on the November ballot.  Or they might not.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU

Cincinnati’s Law and Public Safety Committee has approved a new set of rules for the use of city swimming pools by children. Recreation officials say the rules will protect children without hindering their ability to learn to swim at an early age.

Provided / SORTA

A Cincinnati Council committee has approved a streetcar operating approach, but it's likely to fail when the full council votes this afternoon.  The committee approved a management option where a private contractor will manage the system using local transit union workers.  Council Member Chris Seelbach favors that approach even though he has limited information.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County commissioners are downplaying Cincinnati city manager Harry Black's announcement that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will no longer share certain administrative functions with the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Provided/City of Cincinnati

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) continues to insist federal guidelines prevent it from releasing the details about the proposals it has received to operate the city's streetcar system.

Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley used his veto power for the first time Wednesday to kill an Over-the-Rhine parking permit plan that council had passed on a five-to-four vote.

over-the-rhine
Michael E. Keating / WVXU

A Cincinnati city council committee voted 3-1 Monday to charge Over-the-Rhine residents $108 a year for parking spaces.

The charge would apply to 450 parking spaces in the neighborhood.

After hearing a report on the region's heroin epidemic from city officials and community activists Monday, Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann introduced a motion asking that the city find ways to combat what he called "the heroin crisis" in the next city budget.

Jay Hanselman

By the end of the month, Cincinnati Council will likely have spent the $40,000 in the city’s closed captioning budget for the fiscal year.

The closed captioning is displayed on the CitiCable channel.  It is also shown in the Council chamber to aid the hearing impaired.

So far this fiscal year (starting July 1, 2014), the city has spent $35,666 for captioning service.  That leaves just about $4,300 left to cover April, May and June.  Current trends suggest that money will be gone when the April invoice arrives early next month.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

A Cincinnati Council Committee discussion about the streetcar Tuesday did not yield much in the way of decisions.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) says it has received proposals for operating the streetcar, but would not disclose how many or who bid, saying it can't do so under Federal Transit Administration protocols.

Rail Manager Paul Grether did explain how SORTA plans to present the best bids to Council using a "blind process."

UC Economics Center

A study by UC's Economics Center is forecasting higher revenues for the City of Cincinnati. However, it also expects expenditures will increase as well, and at a faster rate.

The report expects revenues will climb to $400.2 million by the year 2020. Expenditures are predicted to reach $429.3 million that same year.

A committee is beginning the process to clean-up and update the rules that govern Cincinnati City Council meetings.  The city solicitor's office and the council clerk are proposing several changes, and council members may have their own ideas.  

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Members of Cincinnati Council's Law and Public Safety Committee are promising action to improve the allegedly poor living conditions at a Walnut Hills apartment complex.

The city has filed a lawsuit against the owners of The Alms Hill Apartments on Victory Parkway.  It comes after inspections revealed several issues including mold, roaches, bedbugs and water damage from leaks.

The city issued 29 pages of orders that need correcting. 

Josette Bonner lives in the building and says she doesn't feel safe or healthy there.

Cincinnati could pass vicious dog ordinance

Mar 3, 2015

  Cincinnati Council could vote Wednesday on an ordinance to crack down on people who do not control their vicious or dangerous dogs. Joining us to discuss aspects of the proposed ordinance is local attorney James Tomaszewski, Jr. 

  

Provided, City of Cincinnati

A Cincinnati Council committee could vote Tuesday on a plan to get more community involvement with city issues.  The group will review a five-page motion that sets up the framework for more engagement.  

Council Member Kevin Flynn has been interested in the issue since being elected in 2013.

“One of the things that both the administration as well as myself and other council members, at least on the campaign trail, said is we need to do a better job of bringing the people of Cincinnati into the decision making process when we’re making decisions about our city,” Flynn said.

Council wants new parking app ASAP

Jan 26, 2015
WVXU

Eight members of Cincinnati Council have signed a motion ordering the administration to implement the app that would let people pay parking meters via their smart phones. 

But, when that feature is activated and used, Parking Facilities superintendent Bob Schroer says the paid-for time won't show up on the meter.  “If we wanted to put the time back on the meter, it was going to kill the batteries, quicker,” he says.

A Cincinnati Council committee could vote in two weeks on a plan to punish people who do not control their dangerous or vicious dogs.

The debate centers on whether the plan includes criminal penalties in addition to fines.

Council Member Yvette Simpson and others said the target needs to be drug dealers who train dogs to be vicious to protect their operations.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann says talks with the city about shared services are going well and he's optimistic.

He says a public meeting is being scheduled between the board, the mayor and Cincinnati Council's Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation Committee "to discuss opportunities for sharing and collaborating on services where we can achieve cost savings and improve efficiencies."

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati’s “Holiday Food for Fines” program collected 3,580 canned foods for the Freestore Foodbank and resulted in $12,780 in parking fines collected.

The program gave people with outstanding parking tickets a chance to have the late fees waived in exchange for 10 donated canned goods.

According to City Manager Harry Black, 286 people took advantage of the city’s offer; and, in some cases, people donated more than the required 10 cans of food. The people who participated were required to make a payment of $45 in addition to donating the canned food.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati's mayor and city manager will be meeting with the streetcar team this week to discuss the dwindling amount of money in the contingency fund.  If all worst case scenarios happen, the fund could have just $80,000 left in it.  It started out with more than $9 million. 

Mayor John Cranley says the message to streetcar officials John Deatrick and Chris Eilerman is this: "We need to have a team that's going to bring the streetcar in on time and under budget, or we need a new team."

Provided / SORTA

The SORTA board of trustees has signed off on an operating and maintenance agreement for the streetcar.  Cincinnati Council has already approved the agreement, which spells out the responsibilities of the transit authority and the city.

The new streetcar logo was also unveiled Tuesday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will make an annual funding request to the city to cover operating costs.  The city will collect the funds from fares, advertising revenue, parking fees, and from property tax abatement offset revenue.

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