Cincinnati City Council

Michael Keating

Update 6/26/2016 4:21 p.m.: Council members Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson, and Wendell Young will hold a special council meeting on the sewer district issue Tuesday at 4 p.m..

Original Post 2:33 p.m.: Some very upset members of Cincinnati City Council are demanding answers to a question that arose from an audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) – the question of who in City Hall threatened MSD's law firm with termination unless it paid a former city council member $55,000 for consulting work.

Cincinnati officials are continuing work to update the economic incentives used to get companies to locate or expand in the city.  An outside consultant has spent nearly a year reviewing those policies and has provided city leaders with a more than 150 page report.

Cincinnati Council Member Christopher Smitherman is no longer asking that a section of the protected bike lane on Central Parkway be removed.  Instead he's asking city officials to come up with a solution to make the lanes safer between the 1600 and 2100 blocks.

Howard Wilkinson

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Tuesday morning he has a majority of city council willing to support his plan to substantially raise the city's minimum wage for full-time and part-time employees.

en.wikipedia.org

Earlier this month, Cincinnati City Council voted 7-2 to pass an ordinance to improve enforcement of existing wage laws. Cincinnati is the first city in Ohio to pass a law to address wage theft, which refers to instances in which workers are not paid the legal or contractual wages promised by their employers.

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Last April, 42 people were arrested in a three-week blitz against prostitution along the McMicken Avenue corridor. Sex trafficking continues to be a problem in the city, with the West McMicken, Price Hill and Walnut Hills areas experiencing the most prostitution activity. 

Sarah Ramsey

Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost is launching a special audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County leaders have strong words about how Cincinnati runs the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).  Their remarks came after an Enquirer report alleging mismanagement and possible overspending. 

Jay Hanselman

  Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has reached the halfway point of his four-year term; and he says he most certainly plans to run for a second term in 2015.

The first two years have been a roller coaster ride for the 41-year-old mayor – a series of setbacks and victories, sometimes creating allies and often creating opponents with what his critics see as  bull-headed, my-way-or-the-highway approach to governing.

Sarah Ramsey

Mayor John Cranley, along with seven of nine Cincinnati council members, have told  Hamilton County commissioners they will talk about the future of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), but not under the assumption the county will take over control.

In a letter to commissioners Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune Wednesday, Cranley and the council members  rejected the argument that the two commissioners made in a letter to Cranley last month – that MSD, plagued with continuing rate increases and allegations of mismanagement – should hand over MSD operations to the county.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The director of Cincinnati's Parks says it needs $4 million annually to take care of deferred maintenance like trail work and repairs. Willie Carden says the city could reach $70 million  in deferred maintenance by 2025.

Michael Keating

Cincinnati’s Issue 22, the charter amendment that would institute a one mill park levy, has been the object of intense political warfare and heated rhetoric this fall.

The two city charter amendments that follow it on Tuesday’s ballot in Cincinnati – Issue 23 and Issue 24 - have produced nothing but silence.

WVXU

The Cincinnati Fire Department could learn this week if it will receive a federal grant to pay for a 40-member recruit class that starts in February. 

The city has been successful in getting these Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency (SAFER) grants.  SAFER grants come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but fire chief Richard Braun says it gets harder each time.

City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati voters will consider two Charter amendments this fall.  

Council approved two issues Wednesday: moving the city's mayoral primary from September to May, and another moving the beginning of mayoral and council terms from December to January.  It also includes cleaning up some other Charter language.

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati Council member Chris Seelbach says he won’t vote to override Mayor John Cranley’s veto of a proposed charter amendment that would allow city council to meet behind closed doors to discuss some issues.

Cincinnati residents will be asked to approve two Charter amendments this fall, and they could see two more before the deadline to make the ballot next week.  

City Council approved measures Monday for a permanent one mill property tax levy for city parks, and a second to let council hold executive sessions, or closed public meetings on six specific issues.  

Cincinnati voters may see a series of city charter amendments on the November ballot.  Or they might not.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU

Cincinnati’s Law and Public Safety Committee has approved a new set of rules for the use of city swimming pools by children. Recreation officials say the rules will protect children without hindering their ability to learn to swim at an early age.

Provided / SORTA

A Cincinnati Council committee has approved a streetcar operating approach, but it's likely to fail when the full council votes this afternoon.  The committee approved a management option where a private contractor will manage the system using local transit union workers.  Council Member Chris Seelbach favors that approach even though he has limited information.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County commissioners are downplaying Cincinnati city manager Harry Black's announcement that Greater Cincinnati Water Works will no longer share certain administrative functions with the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Provided/City of Cincinnati

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) continues to insist federal guidelines prevent it from releasing the details about the proposals it has received to operate the city's streetcar system.

Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley used his veto power for the first time Wednesday to kill an Over-the-Rhine parking permit plan that council had passed on a five-to-four vote.

Michael E. Keating / WVXU

A Cincinnati city council committee voted 3-1 Monday to charge Over-the-Rhine residents $108 a year for parking spaces.

The charge would apply to 450 parking spaces in the neighborhood.

After hearing a report on the region's heroin epidemic from city officials and community activists Monday, Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann introduced a motion asking that the city find ways to combat what he called "the heroin crisis" in the next city budget.

Jay Hanselman

By the end of the month, Cincinnati Council will likely have spent the $40,000 in the city’s closed captioning budget for the fiscal year.

The closed captioning is displayed on the CitiCable channel.  It is also shown in the Council chamber to aid the hearing impaired.

So far this fiscal year (starting July 1, 2014), the city has spent $35,666 for captioning service.  That leaves just about $4,300 left to cover April, May and June.  Current trends suggest that money will be gone when the April invoice arrives early next month.

Jay Hanselman / WVXU

A Cincinnati Council Committee discussion about the streetcar Tuesday did not yield much in the way of decisions.

The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) says it has received proposals for operating the streetcar, but would not disclose how many or who bid, saying it can't do so under Federal Transit Administration protocols.

Rail Manager Paul Grether did explain how SORTA plans to present the best bids to Council using a "blind process."

UC Economics Center

A study by UC's Economics Center is forecasting higher revenues for the City of Cincinnati. However, it also expects expenditures will increase as well, and at a faster rate.

The report expects revenues will climb to $400.2 million by the year 2020. Expenditures are predicted to reach $429.3 million that same year.

A committee is beginning the process to clean-up and update the rules that govern Cincinnati City Council meetings.  The city solicitor's office and the council clerk are proposing several changes, and council members may have their own ideas.  

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Members of Cincinnati Council's Law and Public Safety Committee are promising action to improve the allegedly poor living conditions at a Walnut Hills apartment complex.

The city has filed a lawsuit against the owners of The Alms Hill Apartments on Victory Parkway.  It comes after inspections revealed several issues including mold, roaches, bedbugs and water damage from leaks.

The city issued 29 pages of orders that need correcting. 

Josette Bonner lives in the building and says she doesn't feel safe or healthy there.

  Cincinnati Council could vote Wednesday on an ordinance to crack down on people who do not control their vicious or dangerous dogs. Joining us to discuss aspects of the proposed ordinance is local attorney James Tomaszewski, Jr. 

  

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