Health Department says budget cuts will increase rats and bed bugs

May 16, 2013

The Cincinnati Health Department (CHD) is putting the public on notice that proposed budget cuts will have a direct effect on services. A meeting is scheduled for May 28 to discuss the layoff of 18 employees and what the cuts will mean.

CHD Spokesman Rocky Merz says over the last five years the department has had to eliminate more than 100 positions. The latest cuts come from a city budget proposal to cut 9% of the CHD's budget.

Fewer rat trapping and bed bug inspections

Merz says, "It will not be felt immediately, but after a few months of losing our prevention efforts there will be more rats and bed bugs and slower response times, which will be felt by citizens." The city regularly conducts sewer baiting to decrease the number of rats. In addition, the CHD says there will be less staff to respond to complaints and provide education and hotel inspections for bed bugs.

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Other services affected:

  • Response time to citizen complaints will increase from 2 days to 2 weeks
  • Swimming pool inspections will be somewhat less than 4 times per year
  • Certified lead inspectors could be lost
  • $5 million in total grant funding is at risk

City Hall's response to the CHD's layoff plan:

"None of the cuts recommended have been done lightly and there are unfavorable consequences to all cuts," says city spokeswoman Meg Olberding. "The government can not sustain the same level of customer service without additional revenue. This is, in part, why the Administration's preferred proposal was leasing the parking assets for an ongoing revenue stream to support such services."