Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's budget plan released Wednesday reduces the number of police and fire department layoffs. But 53 firefighters and 49 police officers would still be out of work in early June.
Mallory said he believes the public safety layoffs are unavoidable.
“I’ve tried to do what I could to reduce them as far down as we can get them,” Mallory said. “Perhaps the Council can identify additional sources or the Council may have different priorities, but certainly I’ve done what I can to reduce that number.”
Mallory made a number of additional spending cuts to the spending plan submitted by City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. Those include:
- Mayor’s office budget $32,000
- Center for Closing the Health Gap $100,000
- N/hood support and business district support $215,000
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce $100,000
- Gr. Cincinnati/No. Kentucky Film Commission $50,000
- Gr. Cincinnati African Amer. Chamber of Commerce $100,000
- Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati $200,000
- Reduce subsidy for nature education $253,000
- Reduce 3CDC subsidy for Fountain Square $85,000
- Close Mt. Auburn Center $75,460
- Close Westwood Town Hall $108,865
“We make as many cuts as we can to restore as many positions as we can,” Mallory said. “Those outside agencies are partners with us; I think they do some great work. But the bottom line is public safety is the number one priority and it’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”
In addition, Mallory said the city’s budget department has identified an additional $500,000 in unspent funds from the current budget that can be applied to next year’s spending plan. Plus the city’s finance department has determined there is an additional $1 million in revenue from this year that can be applied to the next budget.
Besides reducing police and fire layoffs, the Mayor restored three positions to the health department and two positions in the city’s law department.
Mallory said Ohio Governor John Kasich and the State Legislature cut $27 million in state assistance that the city has traditionally received as a share of the state collected taxes and the estate tax. He said that cut created the current city budget deficit.
He also said the delay in the city’s plan to lease most of its parking facilities to the Port Authority forced layoffs. Council approved the parking lease, but opponents took the matter to court and the issue could end up as a referendum on the November ballot.
The mayor's budget has been sent to City Council.
The Budget and Finance Committee is holding its first public hearing on the issue Thursday evening at 6:30 at the Duke Energy Center.