John Cranley unveiled his proposed budget for the city's 2015 fiscal year Wednesday during a news conference in the West End (Photo:FOX19/Gordon Graham)..
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley released his first budget on Wednesday. It's a 400 page proposal for the city's 2015 fiscal year.
Cranley says his budget focuses on basic services and invests in items like police and fire protection, repairing roads and funding neighborhood projects.
There's a lot to cover in those 400 pages. City departments would face a 4.4 percent cut across the board. There would also be fee increases for building permits, special event permits and safety inspections.
Some of the cuts include $154,000 that was budgeted for Solar Trash Compactors and the entire $7,300 budget for the St. Patrick Day's Parade.
The budget adds funding for some items like $55,666 for Fountain Square maintenance and operation and $279,100 for pothole repair.
Reaction to the mayor's proposed budget has been mostly positive, but the department heads and city council members alike say they'll need some time to pour over this 400-page document. In the meantime the big winners in the are the police and fire departments.
Police chief Jeffrey Blackwell says it proves the mayor is making public safety a priority.
"I think it sends a very important message that the mayor is very supportive of us," says Blackwell. "He understands that we're in a tough position with our staffing numbers and with our technology platform that needs a shot in the arm."
Firefighters Union President Matt Alter says the budget will make the city safer.
"It's exciting to see that we have a mayor that's putting public safety first and foremost in the budget and we're excited to get a new recruit class started hopefully by month's end. Get these brownouts reduced hopefully down to zero," adds Alter.
City council members just got the budget this morning. They are cautiously optimistic.
Councilwoman Amy Murray says it is a responsible budget.
"I'm glad that it's structurally balanced and I'm committed to a structurally balanced budget this year so I'll do whatever it takes so that we don't have to go through this every year. It's our responsibility to manage the tax dollars properly."
Councilman Christopher Smitherman says he's in favor of a balanced budget.
"I appreciate the Mayor's comments that any place we recommend that we want to spend some money that we also come to the table with the cuts," explains Smitherman.
Councilman Chris Seelbach says he's pleasantly surprised.
"It's better than I thought it was going to be," he says. "I'm glad to see the office of environmental quality and planning and things like that are not eliminated."
Councilman Kevin Flynn says it is a promising start. "I hope it is as the Mayor said and I'm very encouraged by what he said today, but this is the beginning of the process."
The budget must be passed before the new fiscal year begins July 1. In the meantime a series of public hearings will be held to get citizen input.
Wednesday, July 23 2014 10:38 AM EDT2014-07-23 14:38:30 GMT
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