Cincinnati budget

An overflow crowd filled a small room at the Oakley Recreation Center Thursday night for the first of three public hearings on Cincinnati's proposed budget for the new fiscal year.  

About 30 people offered comments on the spending plan during the two-hour long hearing.

Some Cincinnati Council members are still asking that audits of the Metropolitan Sewer District and the city's parks department be released before votes on the budget later this month.

It appears Cincinnati Council's decision to increase human services funding by $3 million last year is making a difference.  The funds are distributed to 34 programs focused on preventing homelessness and increasing gainful employment.   

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The mayor wants to spend $4 million to help finance affordable housing projects around the city. 

Half of that money would go to projects in Over-the-Rhine, where Cranley says the problem has changed from too much low income housing to not enough.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Wednesday his proposed budget revisions will include $12 million to buy the former Wasson Way line from Norfolk Southern.  That would allow the city to continue with plans for a bike/hike trail to connect several city neighborhoods.

The city reached an agreement with the railroad last year to purchase about 4.1 miles of Wasson Way for $11,757,000.  That deal expires on July 31, 2016, unless the city pays to extend the purchase option.  Cranley's plan means the transaction should be completed this summer.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is supporting a mixed used development in Avondale.  It's part of a neighborhood development initiative first announced on Monday as part of the mayor's version of the budget. Cranley has already announced projects in College Hill, Westwood, and West Price Hill, and plans more announcements through the week.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Standing outside of Westwood Town Hall Monday, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley emphasized the importance of investing in the city's neighborhoods. He announced the first of several changes to the city manager's proposed budget. Each is expected to focus on neighborhood economic development projects.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black laid out a $1.2 billion all-funds operating budget for the city for fiscal year 2017 Thursday that he says is structurally balanced – mainly because the city's revenue is expected to increase.

The full Cincinnati Council will likely vote Wednesday on a property sale and development agreement for Messer Construction to move its corporate headquarters to the West End.  

Right now it has an office on Tennessee Ave. in Bond Hill.  The new site is a former bread company building on Cutter Street.  

Cincinnati Council has decided the city should collect about $28.988 million in property tax revenue in 2017.  

City Council approved a tentative tax budget Wednesday asking for that amount of revenue.

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