Budget Tinkering in Cincinnati
Council members are weighing in with their wish list for the 2008 budget. They'll talk about it Monday at finance committee, 1 p.m., and at a 6 p.m. public hearing.
Here's some of what members have proposed in changes to the original proposed budget, prepared by City Manager Milton Dohoney, and the changes recommended by Mayor Mark Mallory:
Vice Mayor David Crowley: Abandon the proposed consolidation of the emergency communications center; advance the fire recruit class scheduled for 2009 to October 2008 so the department's staffing level doesn't fall below 841, costing an extra $425,660; earmark $100,000 to implement recommendations expected next year in the Scenic View study; $200,000 for a capital grant to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; delay both police recruit classes until 2009, saving $738,810.
Laketa Cole: keep the Neighborhood Support Program funding so each community council gets the current $7,000; fund the mayor's annual youth jobs fair through his non-personnel account, rather than through the budget; $100,000 to the Postponing Sexual Involvement Development Program; decline the proposed 2% salary increases for the mayor and council, saving $14,740; eliminate non-local travel, saving $113,000, and non-contractual tuition reimbursement, saving $208,000.
Roxanne Qualls: $500,000 for the "strategic purchase of foreclosed homes"; $250,000 for an I-75 corridor planning and design consultant; $15,000 more for the Mill Creek Restoration Project; establish the photo radar program proposed in 2004, which could generate $2 million.
Chris Bortz: Council should "adhere to the current laws of the city, specifically Ord. 293-2007, which permits appropriation of additional prior year resources only after the comvined reserve balance reaches 10%." The 2008 budget, he wrote in his motion "is balanced by postponing major financial obligations, similar to a homeowner not paying the mortgage in order to pay the electric bill." By funding the city's retirement system at 17%, the city's $9.1 million short of the required funding level.
Jeff Berding: Restore the bicycle transportation program, costing $51,810; restore the contract with the Community Police Partnering Center for 12 full-time street workers from March through December 2008, costing $430,455; mayor's operating budget should stay at its 2007 funding level, saving $10,210; don't consolidate the police and fire communications sections, which was expected to save $247,010.
Cecil Thomas: $500,000 to close a gap for the Madisonville Business Corridor development plan, funded with another $1.5 million in federal grants; $365,877 for Northside's Fergus Street Home Ownership Project; $50,000 for Cincinnati Union Bethel's Off The Streets initiative, with money from the Cincinnati Police Department's asset forfeiture fund.
John Cranley: stop buying bottled water for council members and take out the water cooler in council chambers, saving $580.57; eliminate the citizens' survey, $60,000; eliminate the Sister Cities program, $25,000; eliminate funding for the Greater Cincinnati Regional Chamber of commerce, $150,000; eliminate proposed improvements to Findlay Market, $100,000; establish a fundwith $1,065,000 for the purchase and demolition or renovation of foreclosed properties.