Cincinnati City Council had a busy session Wednesday taking action on several items that had been presented to various committees this week.
- Council endorsed the city manager's plan to allocate the $18 million surplus from the last fiscal year. The group voted 8-0 for an ordinance enacting the proposal. The money will go to repay neighborhood funds, extra funds for winter operations, labor negotiations and the city's reserve funds. Nearly half of the surplus from the last fiscal year came through departmental cuts and savings.
- The group also approved allocations for federal grant dollars through Community Development Block Grants. $1.4 million will be used to fund Mayor Cranley’s “Hand Up” initiative designed to reduce the city’s poverty rate. The money for that proposal meant funding for some other popular programs was reduced or eliminated.
- Council approved a two-year labor contract with the Fraternal Order of Police that provides officers with their first pay raises in six years.
- The group also passed an ordinance asking judges to ignore city marijuana possession convictions on people’s criminal records from 2006 to 2010. That was when such crimes were fourth degree misdemeanors in the city instead of minor misdemeanors and the tougher sanctions are making it harder for some offenders to seal their criminal records.
- Council gave final approval to rules and regulations for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. It would require transportation network companies to have a city license. Uber and Lyft drivers will have to meet minimum insurance requirements, pass a mandatory criminal background and have annual vehicle inspections.
- Council passed a motion that says the city should focus time and resources on completing the Oasis Bike and Walking Trail instead of a similar trail along the Ohio River. Vice Mayor David Mann opposed the motion. He said he actually wants the Oasis Trail to be a priority, but does not want to give up federal funding that has been secured for the Ohio River Trail. Mann said the city can do both.