Cincinnati City Council

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. 

  

Provided, City of Cincinnati

A Cincinnati Council committee could vote Tuesday on a plan to get more community involvement with city issues.  The group will review a five-page motion that sets up the framework for more engagement.  

Council Member Kevin Flynn has been interested in the issue since being elected in 2013.

“One of the things that both the administration as well as myself and other council members, at least on the campaign trail, said is we need to do a better job of bringing the people of Cincinnati into the decision making process when we’re making decisions about our city,” Flynn said.

Council wants new parking app ASAP

Jan 26, 2015

Eight members of Cincinnati Council have signed a motion ordering the administration to implement the app that would let people pay parking meters via their smart phones. 

But, when that feature is activated and used, Parking Facilities superintendent Bob Schroer says the paid-for time won't show up on the meter.  “If we wanted to put the time back on the meter, it was going to kill the batteries, quicker,” he says.

A Cincinnati Council committee could vote in two weeks on a plan to punish people who do not control their dangerous or vicious dogs.

The debate centers on whether the plan includes criminal penalties in addition to fines.

Council Member Yvette Simpson and others said the target needs to be drug dealers who train dogs to be vicious to protect their operations.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commission President Greg Hartmann says talks with the city about shared services are going well and he's optimistic.

He says a public meeting is being scheduled between the board, the mayor and Cincinnati Council's Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation Committee "to discuss opportunities for sharing and collaborating on services where we can achieve cost savings and improve efficiencies."

Sarah Ramsey

Cincinnati’s “Holiday Food for Fines” program collected 3,580 canned foods for the Freestore Foodbank and resulted in $12,780 in parking fines collected.

The program gave people with outstanding parking tickets a chance to have the late fees waived in exchange for 10 donated canned goods.

According to City Manager Harry Black, 286 people took advantage of the city’s offer; and, in some cases, people donated more than the required 10 cans of food. The people who participated were required to make a payment of $45 in addition to donating the canned food.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati's mayor and city manager will be meeting with the streetcar team this week to discuss the dwindling amount of money in the contingency fund.  If all worst case scenarios happen, the fund could have just $80,000 left in it.  It started out with more than $9 million. 

Mayor John Cranley says the message to streetcar officials John Deatrick and Chris Eilerman is this: "We need to have a team that's going to bring the streetcar in on time and under budget, or we need a new team."

Provided / SORTA

The SORTA board of trustees has signed off on an operating and maintenance agreement for the streetcar.  Cincinnati Council has already approved the agreement, which spells out the responsibilities of the transit authority and the city.

The new streetcar logo was also unveiled Tuesday.

Under terms of the agreement, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority will make an annual funding request to the city to cover operating costs.  The city will collect the funds from fares, advertising revenue, parking fees, and from property tax abatement offset revenue.

Sarah Ramsey

A member of Cincinnati council has won an award for his idea on Town Square Schools. 

P.G. Sittenfeld is one of four people to win the New Ideas Challenge, from the NewDEAL, a group of elected Democrats from across the country.  Sittenfeld’s proposal, the Town Square Schools program, uses school buildings for neighborhood programs after classes have dismissed. 

City of Cincinnati

Cincinnati's Chief Performance Officer is outlining how his newly created Office of Performance and Data Analytics plans to save the city money.

Chad Kenney says the goal is to find ways to make city departments and agencies more efficient. He plans to implement a program called CitiStat.

There may not be a lot of electric cars on the road now but Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld believes there will be soon and he wants the city to be ready. He's behind a resolution directing the city manager to look at creating more charging stations.

Tuesday, City Council's Education and Entrepreneurship Committee discussed a resolution directing the administration to report on the feasibility of having stations on city property, and creating incentives for privately owned stations. Eight of the nine council members signed on to the resolution.

Cincinnati City Council had a busy session Wednesday taking action on several items that had been presented to various committees this week.

From 2006 to 2010, marijuana possession became a fourth degree misdemeanor and cause for arrest in Cincinnati. During that time the City filed nearly 17,000 charges against people found to have between 100 and 200 grams of marijuana. Now, Council is considering retroactively reducing the penalty and allowing those arrested to ask a judge to seal their records, so it doesn't affect their future.  

If Republican Charlie Winburn defeats Democrat Cecil Thomas in the 9th Ohio Senate District race on Nov. 4 – and that is a big “if” at this point - three things will happen:

A Cincinnati Council Committee will wait two more weeks before voting on an ordinance that could make it easier for people to expunge their criminal records relating to the city's now repealed marijuana possession law.

From 2006 to 2010 such convictions were misdemeanors in the city as opposed to the current minor misdemeanors.  The minor offenses are not part of a person's criminal record.  

Some council members have asked if the city can legally ask judges to ignore previous possession convictions when considering expungements.  

Cincinnati Council will vote on a resolution this week asking Ohio lawmakers to exclude marijuana possession convictions when considering whether people should have their criminal records expunged.

From 2006 to 2010, people in Cincinnati who had possessed even small amounts of marijuana were charged with misdemeanors that now appear on their criminal records. That was stricter than state law, which resulted in a citation and no records.

Those city misdemeanor convictions are making it difficult for some people to expunge, or clear, their criminal records.

Cincinnati Council members will be busy Monday with a couple of big committee sessions.  

Law and Public Safety meets at 10 o'clock.  On the agenda, presentations from Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and Fire Chief Richard Braun.  A public hearing is also scheduled on the city's now repealed marijuana possession ordinance.  Many people were cited under the 2006 law before it was eliminated, and now at least some council members want information about how those convictions can be removed from peoples criminal records.  

Howard Wilkinson

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley promised a lot of action in his first State of the City address Thursday night - less gun violence, a greater emphasis on basic services to the neighborhoods and a reduction in the number of Cincinnati residents living in poverty, among other things.

And, Cranley promised, a city that is even more fun to live in than it is now. He went so far as to say he is appointing an unpaid, volunteer “Commissioner of Fun” for the city.

A Cincinnati charter amendment to remove obsolete and ambiguous language from the city's 88-year-old city charter will be on the November ballot.

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously today for the changes recommended by a 24-member Charter Review Task Force. Council needed to act at today's meeting so the Hamilton County Board of Elections can certify it to the ballot at its meeting Monday.

harry black
Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Harry Black, Baltimore’s finance director for the past two-and-a-half years, will take over as Cincinnati city manager on Sept. 8.

This afternoon, Cincinnati City Council confirmed Mayor John Cranley’s choice by an 8-0 vote. One council member, Christopher Smitherman, was out of town but had previously expressed support for the 51-year-old Black.

The vote came the day after a two-and-a-half hour session where council members questioned the Baltimore native, who was chosen by Cranley from 19 candidates.

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