Wednesday, May 29, 2013
COUNCIL COMMITTEE OKs BUDGET
Council committee approves budget
05/29/13 at 11:55am by Jane Prendergast
The budget Cincinnati City Council will vote on Thursday lays off no police officers or firefighters, raises property taxes in 2015, counts on millions from the casino and borrows money from savings.
READ MORE ON THE CITY BUDGET HERE
Council’s budget committee approved it this morning after acknowledging it’s still not structurally balanced and adds to the financial pressure for the future. It passed 8-1.
Laure Quinlivan was the only council member to vote against today’s budget motion
Sixty people will be laid off. They work in administration, health, recreation and parks.
“We are using one-time sources in order to prevent what many people feel is an untenable option,” said Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, referring to laying off police officers and firefighters.
Addressing crime can’t be done by reducing police, she said, and the fire department can’t accommodate any more brownouts, where pieces of equipment sitidle while there’s no staffing to operate them.
“No one should think that there aren’t sacrifices,” Qualls said, pointing out cuts in parks, public services and health. “There will be an impact on people in our community.”
All but one council member signed on to the budget. The one who didn’t: Laure Quinlivan. She said by keeping all police and fire expenses as they are, the budget’s not sustainable.
“We’ve completely turned our backs on the arts community,” she said. “We say we want the creative class in this community. But we’ve just told tem we don’t care.”
She advocated for $50,000 worth of small grants to artists and $65,000 for flower pots in neighborhoods, among other things. Both of those were cut. The Green Energy Alliance funding she wanted was restored.
Also restored: $50,000 to the Greater Cincinnati Film Commission. That issue drew actor Emilio Estevez, in town prepping to film a movie. His movie will bring jobs and money into the city, he said, and the only reason he’s here is because when he cold-called cities around the country, he got a returned call from the local film commission.
Today’s document, with eight signatures on it, is a motion that lists some of what would be saved and cut in the budget. The actual ordinances will be prepared for a vote tomorrow.
Christopher Smitherman, who signed today’s budget motion, said he won’t vote for the budget tomorrow. He won’t support raising property taxes, and the budget includes an increase in 2015.
He also wants to decide tomorrow how, if any extra tax revenue comes in during May and June, to allocate that money. He also wants to work toward more sharing of services with other communities.
“Voting no is difficult,” he said. “Signing my name on this motion today was difficult for me.”
He said he did it because he thought it showed he’s willing to compromise.
Yvette Simpson said this to the people being laid off: “Godspeed. God bless. And I apologize that we couldn’t help you here.”
(Story Courtesy of cincinnati.com)
Very interesting parting statement from Councilwoman Simpson to the people being laid off. Looks like the voting citizens of Cincinnati must say the same thing to you in November Ms. Simpson.